Different Argentine peso bills. Understanding money in Argentina is crucial for your travel.

Money In Argentina: Ultimate Guide To The Exchange Rates [2024]

In a few words, money in Argentina is a mess. If you are planning a trip to this South American country, you need to understand the different exchange rates and the blue dollar. I’ve just returned from my last trip to Argentina in April 2024 and have gathered all the latest information.

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What Is The Money In Argentina

The currency in Buenos Aires and Argentina is the Argentine Peso. There are 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 peso bills. The 2000 peso bill was introduced a few months ago and is not yet widely available. You will most often see 1000 and 500 peso bills. Coins are rarely used.

Blue Money In Argentina: Understand The Blue Dollar

The Blue Dollar is the unofficial or black market foreign currency exchange rate in Argentina. 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. A year later, the money exchange in Argentina 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 USD and the blue dollar rate fluctuates around 1000 pesos for a US dollar.

A $100 bill in perfect condition is highly appreciated and will get you the best rate of money exchange in Argentina.

Apart from American dollars, you can also exchange euros for local currency at the blue rate. Argentina currency to Euro blue exchange rate is fair. You get more pesos for 1 euro than for 1 USD, proportional to the dollar/euro exchange rate difference.

Argentina Currency To USD: Different Types Of Exchange Rates

If you are planning a trip to Argentina for the first time, you will probably feel very confused about the many different exchange rates of the Argentine peso. I was too. I will explain them all and will share my first-hand experience with the dólar blue, and all the information you might need on money in Argentina accurate as of April 2024.

The Official Exchange Rate

This is the exchange rate used by the banks. If you exchange your money in Argentina in a bank, this is the rate you’ll get.

In April 2024, the different exchange rates are as follows: the official exchange rate is 848 pesos for $1, the dollar blue rate is 985 pesos for $1 and the MEP rate is 998 pesos for $1. As you can see, the official exchange rate is the least favorable of all.

The Blue Dollar Rate

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.

As you can see from the rates above, 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.

Dolar Tarjeta And Dolar Turista

You can also see these two exchange rates. Just ignore them, they don’t apply to tourists. These еxchange rates apply to Argentines when traveling abroad, buying goods from abroad, or exchanging pesos for foreign currency.

You may have noticed that they are also the most unfavorable. This is one of the reasons for the existence of the blue dollar and the black market exchange rate.

The 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 a foreign VISA or Mastercard, 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 that issued your card. Since the MEP rate is close to the Blue Dollar rate, there’s virtually no difference between exchanging your currency at the Blue Dollar rate and paying with your foreign credit card.

Inflation in Argentina is around 8% per month, so exchange rates change very dynamically. Check the current exchange rates before deciding which is the most favorable at the moment.

What Is The Best Currency To Take To Argentina

The best currency to take to Argentina is US dollars, preferably in $100 bills. New 100 dollar bills with a blue strip in perfect condition will get you the best exchange rate on the black market. That’s why the parallel exchange rate is called blue dollar.

If the euro is your currency, don’t bother exchanging it for US dollars. Crisp 100 Euro bills will also get you the best rate.

Does Argentina Accept US Dollars

The short answer is no. You can’t pay with UD dollars. You will have to exchange them for Argentine pesos first.

Using Credit Cards in Argentina 2023 vs 2024

In March 2023, the Visa exchange rate in Argentina was at the MEP rate at the time of the transaction. Mastercard charged at the official exchange rate and credited the bank account with the difference a few days later. The MEP rate did not apply to Amex credit card payments.

As I already told you things have significantly changed a year later. 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. The MEP rate applies to Amex credit cards too.

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. 

Money Exchange In Argentina

Banks

Banks are the worst place to exchange your money in Argentina. They will give you the most unfavorable exchange rate, which is the official rate.

Cuevas

These are stores or offices which are the underground exchange houses. This is where they will exchange your money at the blue market rate.

Western Union Argentina

You can send money to yourself and withdraw it at Western Union Argentina. I’ve heard Western Union Argentina gives an exchange rate equal to or close to the blue dollar rate. I haven’t used them though. Other travelers said there were long lines in front of their offices and they often ran out of peso bills.

ATMs

ATMs are widely available, though there are possible issues to keep in mind:

  • Some ATMs have low withdrawal limits
  • The exchange rate can be less favorable
  • ATMs often ran out of money
  • There are usually fees associated with ATM withdrawals. Check with your bank for the international ATM withdrawal fees that apply to your credit card. There may also be ATM usage fees.

Where To Exchange Money In Buenos Aires Argentina

Calle Florida

Calle Florida (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 a nearby cueva (a shop or an office) where they will exchange your money at the blue market rate. Don’t forget: a $100 bill in perfect condition is highly appreciated and will get you the best rate. Euros in perfect condition are also appreciated.

Enviar

Enviar Money Exchange Office in Argentina

If you don’t feel comfortable exchanging money in Argentina 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. 

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 hotel. You can find them at:

  • 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.

Exchanging Money in Argentina At Ezeiza Airport (EZE)

Avoid exchanging money at the Buenos Aires International Airport Ezeiza. You will get the worst possible exchange rate.

Wait until you get to the city and exchange your currency in Buenos Aires downtown. To get to the city of Buenos Aires without having Argentine pesos, you have several options:

  • Arrange a transfer with your accommodation;
  • Book a private transfer;
  • Use the free WiFi at the airport to call an Uber. Pay with your credit card through the app. You can even tip the driver through the app.

Exchanging Money in Argentina: The Blue Dollar Outside Of Buenos Aires

Yes, you can. 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 have any doubts about exchanging money in Argentina, ask your accommodation for advice.

Read also: 21 Epic Things To Do In Ushuaia

How Much Cash To Bring To Argentina

The answer will depend on how long you will stay and what you plan to do. Just a thing to consider: in case you prefer to pay in cash, if you exchange a $100 bill you will get around 100,000 pesos or nearly a hundred bills of 1000 pesos each. That’s quite a pile to carry around.

With the new MEP rate, I preferred to use my credit card. I found it to be more convenient despite the little difference in comparison to the blue dollar rate.

How Expensive Is Argentina

A year ago Argentina used to be a very affordable destination. The situation in Argentina has changed a lot in a year, especially when it comes to prices and the blue dollar. The official peso exchange rate is almost on par with the blue dollar and prices have gone up 2-3 times. Overall, Argentina is not as cheap for foreigners as it was not long ago.

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 months 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.

To Wrap It Up: Different types of rates are applicable to money exchange in Argentina. Three of them are of importance to the tourists: the official rate, the blue dollar exchange rate, and the MEP rate. Understanding the money in Argentina will help you get the most favorable exchange rate.

I hope after reading this article you already feel more comfortable and confident and looking forward to your travel to Argentina.

FAQ

What kind of currency is used in Argentina?

The currency used in Argentina is the Argentine peso.

What currency is used in Buenos Aires?

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and the currency used is the Argentine peso.

Can I use US dollars in Argentina?

No. Though there might be some exceptions, you will have to exchange your US dollars for Argentine pesos.

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