Money, banking, foreign exchange and many more about Bolivia - The Traveller


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Friday, December 23, 2011

Money, banking, foreign exchange and many more about Bolivia

The national currency is the Boliviano, indicated by the abbreviation B, sometimes also called peso (its former name). Beware of old notes that you pass sometimes glued together: they are valid, but only if the serial number is the same right and left of the ticket.

- End of 2010, € 1 was worth about 9 B, a USD Bs around 7 We rounded up the rate of 1 € = 10 Bs

- To have bolivianos, two options: withdraw cash with a credit card in the cities where we indicate that there are distributors, increasingly easy to find, or change dollars or in banks or in the casas de cambio (exchange offices), found everywhere. Almost identical rates. Can often change on the street also, again at a rate close to the official rate, or in many hotels. Most hotels, restaurants and some shops accept dollars for payment.

Many casas de cambio are open every day as banks, they are generally open Monday to Friday from 8 am from 30 to 12 h 30 h 14 and from 30 to 18: 30 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm .

- Traveler's checks are exchanged in exchange offices and banks rarely, usually at the cost of a commission that may be more or less important. Less convenient than cash, then, but we can repay them in case of theft or loss. Note they can also be a means of payment in travel agencies, as in Uyuni and Rurrenabaque, but they then take, in general, a committee of at least 3%.

- The euro is now accepted in major tourist cities, including in the street. But many of the banks still refuse. As a precaution, prefer dollars.

Payment cards

Do not rely too much on the credit card to pay your expenses, you can use it in some hotels, restaurants and shops of La Paz, Sucre and Santa Cruz. However, you will find in most cities of ATMs (cajeros automáticos) accepts Visa, MasterCard and Cirrus. Withdrawal by the Commission is normally set at 3 USD, but check anyway with your bank before leaving.

- Warning: vending machines issuing tickets first and then the machine makes the card.


Bolivia is a country where the cost of living is very cheap, where you can quietly make his journey for a very low cost, from time to time, afford real luxury without stopping his bank account. Excluding anything you can buy, and the various excursions, we can totally, including bus travel, live decently with € 20 per day!

However, the economy is "dollarized" and the prices vary depending on the tourism demand, the level of development where they are found or the distance of that production centers. And Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the villages of Beni and Pando or Uyuni, far from everything, show prices 30-40% higher than the valleys of the Andean region.


Prices are those we give you a double room. If you travel alone, take 30 to 50%. For a room with double bed, ask a marriage, because a double or twin habitación usually involves twin beds (there are rarely marriage in hotels in the first category).

- Very cheap: less than 60 B (6 €).
- Cheap: 60 to 80 B (6 to € 8).
- Moderate Price: from 80 to 140 Bs (8-14 €).
- Average Prices: from 140 to 240 B (14 to € 24) or about 20 to $ 35.
- More chic: from 240 to 350 B (24 to € 35) or about 35 to $ 50.
- Chic (only in major cities or popular tourist areas like Uyuni): over 350 Bs (€ 35) or about $ 50.


Here, prices are those of a flat map (often more than enough to be able to do without something else). Note that many restaurants also offer a almuerzo (input and / or soup, main course and dessert sometimes) cheap lunch (usually for 20 to 40 B, 2 to € 4).
- Very cheap: about 10 B (1 €).
- Budget: less than 25 Bs (€ 2.50).
- Average Prices: 25 to 40 B (2.50 to € 4).
- A little more chic: 40 to 50 Bs (4-5 €).
- More chic (only in La Paz, Sucre, Trinidad and Santa Cruz): 50 B (5 €) and more.


Some excursions (Salar de Uyuni, Rurrenabaque, mountain climbing, Amboró parks, and Kempff Isiboro Secure, and the Pantanal) need to go through a specialized agency. Provide 200-B (20 €) per day (Salar and South Lipez, Rurrenabaque) to more than $ 500 (€ 350) for a trip of a week full board in the parks and the center of the Amazon. Also keep 25 USD or 177 Bs (€ 17.70) for the airport tax International in La Paz or Santa Cruz.


Bolivia has a rich handicraft. Bargaining takes place in the markets. Bolivian prices remain among the best Latin American and crafts sold in Peru is most often manufactured in Bolivia.

- Alpaca: the beautiful sweaters, many producers, increased competition, then negotiate.

- Angora: to go to the Salar and Lipez, you will need thermal underwear angora sport. Wool is a high-end.

- Antiques: you have to pay very, very expensive to acquire an original piece. In addition, you can not repatriate that by requesting permission from the Ministry of Culture.

- Baroque Art: beautiful replicas of Baroque painting are for sale in La Paz and Cochabamba. Pieces carved wooden extraordinary bill (details of the Jesuit missions) are offered by the artists who restored San Javier, Concepción and Santa Ana.

- Silver Jewellery: paradoxically, Potosí does not offer a great choice. You will find them in La Paz.

- Wood: carved pieces representing Aymara and Quechua. Also amazing chess sets made of precious wood from the Amazon.

- Bowler hat and leather boots: the very British bowlers, known here as the "Borsalino" cholitas of La Paz or the beautiful hats Charcas Glorieta de Sucre if you want something class. As for leather, there are very nice backpacks, jackets and also clothes that would go very well with Uma Thurman, all in La Paz.

- Devils and other masks: Bolivia has a variety of masks worthy of his dances, with a limitless variety. Can be found on Calle La Paz to Oruro and La Paz.

- Ceramic Figurines: the famous dioremas, miniatures of the characters typical Bolivian. These are cholitas, musicians or llamas. You will find them in La Paz.

- Musical instruments: there are enormous: charangos (preferably wood), wind instruments: kena (notched vertical flute), zampoña (Andean panpipes), the tarka (large wooden whistle sounding hoarse) .

- Ll'uchus (caps): as in Peru, there is a choice between ll'uchu Aymara, simpler but it covers the entire head, Quechua, most beautiful but still above the forehead.

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