Blue Dollar Rate in Argentina: Ultimate 2024 Info

Argentine currency photo

I just got back from my last trip to Argentina (March 2024) and feel the need to update this post. Definitely the situation in Argentina has changed a lot in the last year, especially when it comes to prices and the blue dollar. Overall, Argentina is not as cheap for foreigners as it was a few months ago. The official peso exchange rate is almost on par with the blue dollar and prices have gone up 2-3 times. Read on to understand what I am talking about.

What is the blue dollar rate in Argentina?

The Blue Dollar exchange rate in Argentina is the unofficial or black market foreign currency exchange rate in Argentina. When planning a trip to Argentina for the first time, you will most probably feel very confused with the several exchange rates of the Argentinian pesos. I was too. I am sharing with you my first-hand experience with the dólar blue from March 2023, and I updated the information in April 2024. 

Although unofficial, you can find the Blue Dollar rate in Argentina published daily in newspapers and online.

In March 2023 the parallel exchange rate was almost double the Argentine peso official rate.

At the end of the year, the money exchange rates have changed. The newly elected Argentine government changed overnight the official rate from 366 to 785 pesos for one US dollar. At the end of March 2024, the official rate is around 850 pesos for 1 $ and the blue dollar rate fluctuates around 1000 pesos for a US dollar.

Apart from American dollars, you can also exchange euros for local currency at the blue rate. New 100 dollar bills with a blue strip in perfect condition will get you a better exchange rate. 

What is a MEP rate?

There is another exchange rate which is important for you as a foreign tourist to have in mind. It is the MEP rate.

When paying with foreign VISA or Mastercard bank cards, your foreign credit card will be charged at the MEP dollar rate. There will be a few percent difference depending on the country and the bank where your card was issued. As the MEP rate is usually a little bit higher than the blue dollar rate, there is practically no difference whether you’ll exchange your currency at the blue dollar rate or pay with your foreign credit card.

As of March 2023, Visa charged the credit cards at the MEP rate at the time of the transaction while Mastercard charged at the official exchange rate and credited the bank account with the difference a few days later. As of March 2023, the MEP rate did not apply to Amex credit card payments. In 2024 Mastercard charges credit cards with the MEP rate at the time of the transaction too, so no waiting a few days to see the exact exchange rate.

What is the current exchange rate?

At the time of updating, April 2024, the different exchange rates are as follows: the official exchange rate is 848, the dollar blue rate is 985 and the MEP rate is 998. As you can see, the dolar blue black market exchange rate is no longer the most favorable exchange rate for foreign tourists. As the rates change daily, you’d better check them here.

However, when I exchanged my dollars for Argentine pesos at the Blue Dollar rate in Argentina in March 2023, I got almost double the bang for my buck. And everything I paid for was half the price. The prices of tours and activities in US dollars seemed high, but with the black market rate, they became reasonable and even cheap. A year later I found out prices in pesos have gone up 2-3 times and with the blue dollar rate being not so favorable, Argentina has become significantly more expensive.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Argentina?

Most hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and travel agencies accept VISA and Mastercard although many merchants will offer you at least a 10% discount if you pay in cash. 

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What does the price tag “$100” mean?

I often saw price tags that started with a $ sign. At first, I almost had a heart attack. Well, such tags do NOT mean US dollars. ‘$100’ means 100 Argentine pesos. If the price is in US dollars, the price tag will look like ‘US$100’.

Tax-Free shopping in Argentina

In theory, any purchase over 70 pesos (a few cents!) that you take out of the country entitles you to a VAT refund at customs. During my three weeks of traveling around the country, I didn’t see a single store with the Tax-free logo. Those I asked about it said they didn’t issue the required Tax-free form.

Tax-free accommodation in Argentina

Foreign travelers paying with a foreign VISA or Mastercard are exempt from paying 21% VAT at hotels. With this in mind, the prices you see on tripadvisor.combooking.com, or other similar websites are already VAT-free. Most accommodations list their prices in US dollars. When you have to pay, they will convert the US dollars to pesos at the official rate. If you pay by a foreign credit card, no VAT will be charged. 

If you choose to pay in cash, 21% VAT will be added to the accommodation price. The VAT exemption does not apply if you rent an apartment on AirBnB

Based on my experience, I could say that hotels avoid prepayment, and most prefer to be paid on the last day of your stay. No wonder, with the high inflation in the country.

Where to exchange money at the Blue Dollar rate in Buenos Aires? 

Before going to Buenos Aires, I had heard of Calle Florida (Florida Street). Florida Street is a pedestrian street in downtown Buenos Aires and all major Buenos Aires attractions are close by. As you walk down it, you will hear people shouting “Cambio, cambio” (change, change). You may see them in other places in the central area too. They will all claim to give you the best exchange rate. It is a good idea to know the current rate before going there to know what exchange rate to expect. They will direct you to nearby stores or offices which are underground exchange houses where they will exchange your money at the blue market rate. A $100 bill in perfect condition is highly appreciated and will get you the best rate. Euros in perfect condition are also appreciated.

If you don’t feel comfortable exchanging money on the street but still want to get a better rate, the best place to do so is at an ENVIARg exchange office. ENVIARg exchange offices are green with a big “enviar” sign on the window. ENVIARg exchange offices will offer you an exchange rate close to the unofficial exchange rate of the blue dollar (i.e. with a difference of no more than 1-2%). The rule of the $100 bill in perfect condition applies there too. 

Enviarg Blue Dollar exchange offices in Buenos Aires
Enviarg office

You can find four ENVIARg offices in Buenos Aires, conveniently situated in the central part of the city and most probably there will be one close to your chosen hotel. You can find them here:

  • Av. de Mayo 1343, C1958ABD CABA – This is the most central one. It is practically in front of the Palacio Barolo.
  • Rodríguez Peña 1580, C1012 CABA – This one is in the Recoleta neighborhood. Very convenient if you are staying there.
  • Pres. José Evaristo Uriburu 1718, C1114AAT CABA – Also in Recoleta.
  • Thames 1632, C1425 CABA – This one is in the Palermo neighborhood.

NOTE: None of these offices is open on Sundays.

Can you exchange money at the Blue Dollar rate outside of Buenos Aires?

While traveling outside of Buenos Aires, you will find many shops and coffee shops offering an exchange rate close to the Blue Dollar rate. In the center of Ushuaia Patagonia, almost every souvenir shop and cafe has an exchange rate advertised at the counter, though in March 2024 the exchange rate in Ushuaia was 900 pesos for a dollar compared to 980 in Buenos Aires. If you are not sure where to exchange your currency, ask at your accommodation.

How much money to exchange?

FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE TIP: Don’t exchange a lot of money at once.

Here are the reasons why:

  • Basically because the largest Argentine bill is a 1000. At the current rate of 980 pesos to 1 US dollar, if you exchanged a $100 bill, you would receive about 98,000 pesos or nearly a hundred bills of 1000 pesos each. That’s quite a pile! Update 2024: there is already a 2000 peso bill though it’s not commonly spread.
  • Another reason to exchange less money at a time is that you will most likely get an even better exchange rate the next day. In March 2023 I exchanged money every other day and the difference in the exchange rate from one day to the other bought me at least the food for the day. In 2024, the exchange rate seems to have remained steady for the last week from the drastic change of the official exchange rate onwards, but who knows?

In conclusion: there are three types of money exchange rates in Argentina which are of importance to the tourists. These are the official rate, the blue dollar exchange rate, and the MEP rate. I hope after reading this article you already feel more comfortable and confident and looking forward to your travel to Argentina.

Please, share this article on social media. It will help someone else.

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