Currency in Argentina

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Currency in Argentina

The official currency of Argentina is the peso (ARS), divided into 100 centavos. Generally, the exchange rate floats around ARS4.70/USD 1 and ARS5.70/€1.

Note: as of June 2012, banks and other exchange agencies no longer sell US dollars at the official rate, as there is a parallel market known as the "blue" dollar. The blue exchange rate is around ARS 6.15/USD 1 and ARS 7.33/€ 1. Make sure to stay up to date with the most recent "blue" value, either by checking the local newspapers. It is advisable to convert your foreign currency beforehand to the highest possible value (in exchange agencies such as Metropolis) because most shops, while gladly accepting your foreign cash, will usually give you a rate that's more close to the "official" exchange value.

Coins come in 5, 10, 25, 50 centavo and 1 and 2 peso denominations. Banknotes are issued in values of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 pesos. Be prepared to receive 5 or 10 cent change in the form of golosinas (candies), specially in Chinese supermarkets.

The fashion and art scenes are booming. Buenos Aires' signature European-South American style overflows with unique art pieces, art deco furniture, and antiques. Creative and independent, local fashion designers - who are becoming a source of inspiration for the U.S. and European high-end markets - compose their collections based on lots of leather, wools, woven fabrics, and delicate laces with a gaucho twist. At times, the exchange rate can present good value for international tourists. For example, in early 2006 the dollar and the euro were strong in comparison with the then-weak Argentina peso.

Fashionable clothing and leather products can be found in most commercial areas; jackets, boots and shoes are easily available. However, Buenos Aires has a relatively mild climate, so truly cold-weather gear is harder to find here. Long coats or heavy gloves may not be in stock; similarly, jeans and other basics have a thin construction compared with those in cooler countries. The Andes regions and Patagonia are considerably colder in the winter, so thick clothing is much easier to find here.

Electronics are not cheap, as they are subject to heavy import tariffs. The price of music, books, and movies lags slightly behind changes in the exchange rate and can offer a bargain if the volatile exchange rates are in your favour.

Most freestanding shops in Buenos Aires are open 10AM-8PM on weekdays, and some of them also Saturdays and Sundays, depending on what area of the city they are in. Enclosed malls, however, set their own hours, and are also open on the weekends.

Most places outside of the city of Buenos Aires, where most stores remain open during a siesta, still observe a siesta from approximately 12 until 4 PM; almost all businesses are closed during this time. The precise closing hours vary from store to store, according to the preferences of the owner. Shops and offices generally open again in the evening until 9 or 10 PM.

If you want to use a debit or credit card, the checkout operator in places like supermarkets will require you to present both your card and a form of identification such as a drivers' license. Present both simultaneously at checkout and with confidence. A lack of confidence will lead to a request for your passport as identification. For larger purchases such as long-distance bus tickets you will need to present your passport and your credit card. Although this makes shopping difficult, do try to keep your passport in a location such as a hotel-room safe.

As of 2011, unlike other parts of South America such as Peru, the credit card purchasing systems do not support credit card PINs. So, if you enabled PIN in your home country do not expect the Argentinian restaurant, hotel, or retailer to ask for you to key it in. Instead, they will ask for your signature, which is normal.

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