Essence of SA money matters..

Wondering if it's best to carry a combo of USD and local currency or if USD was accepted and easy to use in all 3 countries.
Advice from those who have done this tour is appreciated, we leave next week!


  • Good morning,
    We did this tour in September 2014. It is one of my favorites. We used USD and credit cards. I think we had some local money but it seemed they preferred USD, especially in Argentina.
    Have fun.
  • When I was last in Argentina the US dollar ‘was’ the official currency. That being said, I would not get South American currency unless absolutely necessary. My X-wife once thought I had an ‘off-shore’ bank account cuz she saw a receipt for Brazilian currency that I had exchanged for $40 US. It was a huge amount of Brazilian money. By the tiime I left three days later it was worth about $20 US. (;-). I think they are in better shape now. But we are not talking about Swiss francs.
  • edited October 2018
    That's funny, Sealord. Good thing it wasn't a Zimbabwean receipt :-)

    I rarely exchange money, especially in countries like Argentina where the currency is so unstable. I use credit cards almost exclusively.
  • edited October 2018
    Times have changed - I went in September 2018. Don't count on being able to use USD.

    Many/most places take credit cards. Most don't want to accept anything smaller than $20 bills, not even with vendors on the street! It does turn out that many of the hotels we stayed at in Santiago, B.A., and Rio - exchanged at a rate close to the daily rate, especially if you factor in the high ATM charges. Hotels did accept smaller bills, but be forewarned, this could change with some currencies going down.
  • We just returned from this trip a week ago. No real money issues--credit cards widely accepted in all 3 countries. We had no need to get Reals in Brazil as CC seem to be no issue. We ate at a nice restaurant near the hotel in Buenos Aires whose check required cash payment--showed the cashier the Arg peso to US $ on my cellphone XE App and she was very happy to take our US$. In the Hotel Alveras restaurant in BA, the tip could only be left in cash and not added to CC.
  • I’ve never been anywhere (except Vietnam during the war) where you could not tip in dollars. The server will figure it out. Coins don’t work, but dollar bills work just fine.

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