Back for a quick update, busy with work.
When traveling abroad tourists always want to get the most bang for their buck. When traveling in Peru it is important to know the do’s and dont’s of money exchange. In Lima the airport has various atm’s and a money exchange on the lower floor just before you exit near the coffee stand. It’s okay to change some dollars for soles here but the rate is usually a few points off the prime rate.
I normally change just outside the center of lima in one of the places the guys in the vests go to do their own changes. I won’t tell where my spot is because I don’t want every gringo out of san anton showing their touron self there but I will suggest a few good alternatives that bring close to prime rates.
First, dont do it at any of the hotels or eateries as you will get screwed on the rate.
Rule #1 look for the guy in the neon yellow vest, normally sitting atop a bar stool on busy street corners. The proper way to ask is, “quanto es el cambio por favor” or “quanto es el dolar” last extended stay was normally 2.85 but I was able to change for 2.92 at my un named establishment. It was a little out of the way but a big safe place none the less. Normally in Mira Flores one pays a higher rate somewhere in the 2.80 all the way down to 2.70 in the wee hours of the morning.
Rule #2 DOS, you guessed it don’t change your money at night on the street. It is hard enough making sure you have gotten all of your bills let alone checking that they are legit in the dark street lights. I rarely change large amounts at night but have in Mira Flores near the McDonalds but not too late. It was around 11 PM local when I did it there a few times and needless to say I got screwed on the rate but if you are out for the party then you have no choice.
#3 always check around. During the day time it is not uncommon to see several neon clad money changers on a street corner. In plaza de armas try the guys in front of bembos. There is also a reliable place a few doors down on the side of the pizza place but watch out as he tried to give me a fazool last time and I told hime to give me a new bill. It was a fake 100 sole not you could tell because the foil wasnt glittery. Be careful out there and its best to use the guys in the jackets they are most reliable.
Gamara: Check close to the food court near the main entrance by Pizza Hut.
Mira Flores: ATM’s McDonalds Building by movie theater, Exchanger’s just outside
Ave Abancay: Near the Judicial look for the lady singing on her karioke machine and ask around. ATM’s and 2 good exchanges
Chabuka: Here you will need to go back to Plaza De Armas and try Bembo for the ATM or the Bank down by the shops on the pedestrian mall.
Cusco : Plaza de Armas is the best place here plenty of ATM’s and you’ll want to go inside one of the shops around the square to exhange money look for Dollar Euro signs in yellow. If you can’t find one just ask someone. They are in most of the places in the square like the internet cafe’s.
Most Bank ATM’s will give out dollars or soles. I always get dollars and change my money as needed. There are usually plenty of neon vested fellows to help. They should all have a calculator you can use if you need too. Good luck and stay safe and smart.