Local Currency

In the Essential Guide to Customs and Culture for Bolivia it suggests that you not walk around with your credit cards as thieves may kidnap you and demand that you withdraw all the money in the account. Is this an issue when traveling with the group? I would assume that if you are out alone, it may be a good idea.

Also, what about cash in both Peru and Bolivia? Is it possible to get cash once we are in the country easily, or should we bring some local currency with us?


  • I took this trip last year. There is not much free time in Bolivia. I was exhausted by the end of the trip (I actually had pneumonia, but didn't know it until I had been home for 5 days), so on the final afternoon, which was the only free time, I relaxed and had a great massage at the hotel, that I charged (including tip). I'm pretty sure that I got a small amount of local currency before I left home, but in both Peru and Bolivia, you can get local currency from an ATM. I know that I used an ATM in Cusco. I generally carry one Amex and one MasterCard when I leave the hotel. In the hotel safe -- and with my daughter at home -- I leave photocopies of the front and back of my credit cards and my ATM card, so I have phone numbers to call if necessary. (That's in addition to the recommended photocopy of my passport's "information page." ) Fortunately, so far I haven't needed to use them. Don't spend much time worrying about what could happen. Just take normal precautions and enjoy the trip. It's great!
  • Gosh - I hadn't thought of that one!

    We're counting on using ATMS to withdraw cash. We live in a really rural area, so getting foreign currency is usually problematic here. Never had a problem in Europe, Russia, China, so hope ATMS work in Peru/Bolt as well.

    Also thinking about how much US currency we need to bring for Bol visa, tour director tip, etc.

    What we had planned on doing on our free afternoon in La Paz was take the gondola ride up the mountain for the views. Hope that will be safe...
  • We had the option to stay on the bus and drive through LaPaz traffic to get to the hotel or to leave the bus and get to the hotel by gondola. I think that everyone except one person opted for the gondola ride, which was great. We even changed "lines" at one point -- like changing train lines on a subway system. There was plenty of time to take photos from the gondolas.

    Tauck will tell you the recommended amount for a tip for the tour director and the definite amount for the Bolivian visa. Bolivia is REALLY serious about having crisp bills with no teeny folds or pinpricks. Our tour director examined everyone's "visa cash" while we were in the Sacred Valley and rejected lots of it -- including some of my bills that I thought were pristine. However she found some pinpricks in at least one twenty that indicated that it had been stapled to something at some point. (I think that she may have even used a magnifying glass to examine the bills.). Fortunately, I had brought sufficient extra bills that passed muster. I suggest that you bring more than you think you will need. You can always use it for tips or bring it home.

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