Saturday, September 18, 2021

Money & Shopping in Bolivia

South AmericaBoliviaMoney & Shopping in Bolivia


Foreign currency
It can be difficult to change money other than euros and US dollars, even money from neighbouring countries! You may find more flexible exchange offices at airports, but be prepared for service charges and poor exchange rates. USD notes under $100 may also be difficult to break without accepting a worse exchange rate.

The national currency is the Boliviano. Since January 2010, the exchange rate is generally Bs6.96/USD or Bs7.50/EUR (as of December 2016). Banknotes are available in denominations of 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10; coins are available in 5, 2 and 1 bolivianos, as well as 50, 20 and sometimes 10 centavos (1/10 boliviano). Notes larger than Bs50 can be difficult to break in small shops or with vendors, but a quick phone call or Internet session in an Internet café (see Contact, below) will usually get you some change.

Money can be exchanged for US dollars and most South American currencies at Casa De Cambio branches or from street vendors. Expect to negotiate a favourable exchange rate, as most vendors try to make money off tourists.

US dollars are widely accepted in hotels, tourist shops and for major purchases.

Banco de Credito is a good bank to withdraw money from. Banco Union should be avoided if possible, as it charges a 5% surcharge (since May 2012), although it does not mention this.


The service charge is included in the bill. However, a small tip of about 5% is sometimes given, which is considered a sign of politeness.