Hi. This is is Steve LePoidevin, your IL Peru
correspondent. I’m gonna answer a few questions that people have had regarding the currency
in Peru. First one is what currency is used in Peru. The currency of Peru is the nuevo
sol but is shortened just to sol or soles for day-to-day conversations. Banknotes come
in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200, but 200 is quite unusual, though you do get
them periodically from the ATMs. One sol is subdivided into 100 céntimos, which you can
kind of think of as cents. Same kind of idea. So you have 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 céntimo coins
as well as larger denominations of 1, 2, and 5 soles. “Can I use U.S. dollars?” Yes, you
can. You can use U.S. dollars at many of the largest shops, but you’re probably not going
to obtain a very good conversion rate in the process as is common in many other countries.
Most real estate transactions, including rentals, use American dollars, and most ATMs provide
the option of withdrawing U.S. dollars or Peruvian soles. Where can I exchange money? The three most
common places would be banks, the street money changers and, of course, the large business
money exchanges. Banks often have very long lines, so it’s not the best idea, because
it could take you a long time just to exchange a few dollars or a few soles. Most street
money changers are pretty good, but, again, it’s difficult to separate the shady ones
from the honest ones. It’s not unusual to obtain counterfeit money from these guys.
And you also risk the chance of petty theft right after you’ve had the exchange or conducted
your exchange as you go walking down the street with your pockets full of money. If you really need to have cash on a regular
basis while you’re traveling, the best bet is probably the big money exchange businesses
if you want to exchange a lot of cash at one time. ATMs, it’s better not to carry around
large amounts of cash as I just said, and you can visit the ATMs as necessary. They’re
all over the country, and with a little groundwork, you’ll find ATMs, BCP being one of them, that
allow you to withdraw up to a 700 soles, which is about $212, as of this writing or of this
video, at a time. Your bank determines how much you can take out on a daily basis, I
believe. I can take out usually at least two…use the machine at least two times a day, if not
three, and each transaction costs about $4. But that’s only about 2%. So if you’re just
here on holiday for a week or two, using the ATM is not that expensive. If you have a Scotiabank
account in Canada or the U.S., you can probably withdraw cash from Peru’s Scotiabank ATMs
without paying any fee at this end. But remember, Peru’s a cash economy. Although
the top credit cards are widely accepted in the larger outlets, most shops operate on
a cash-only basis, and nobody ever has very much change. If you hand over a 100 soles
bill for a 5 sol item, the shopkeeper probably won’t have enough change, and he’ll go running
out the door looking for change from one of his buddies. So don’t be surprised if this
happens when you go shopping. The other thing you’re gonna run across in
Peru is the questions, “Boleta o factura?” and, “Efectivo o tarjeta?” Every time you
purchase anything, you’re going to be asked these questions. A boleta is a normal receipt.
That is what you’re probably going to want. The factura is a business receipt that you
would obtain if you have a tax number in the country or own a business. But that’s not
going to be very common for most people, for most expats. Efectivo is cash. Tarjeta is a credit card.
So basically they’re asking you cash or credit when they ask you that question. But it’s
an inexpensive country, so you don’t need to carry around a lot of money at any given
time. When you think…we realize that the minimum wage here is only about $300 a month,
it puts things in perspective. That’s about $12 a day. So an iPad or a cell phone is equal
to three or four months wages for many people. And that’s a big temptation for a petty thief
that sees some tourists walking around flashing either one of these items carelessly. And
in general, it’s a non-tipping economy, except for higher-end restaurants. Most people leave
a little change, but 5% or 10% would be the maximum tip, you know, many people would leave. A meal of the day for two with nonalcoholic
drinks can be as little as $5. That would be your menu del dia. And that’ll get you
a soup or salad and a small dessert as well. A couple can dine out at a decent restaurant
for $25 or $30, even with wine or beer. Long-term furnished rentals start at around $500 a month
in places like Arequipa, Cusco, Trujillo. Unfurnished apartments can be found for much
less. Of course, in Lima, you’re gonna probably spend at least $800 a month, especially in
the more popular districts, such as Miraflores or Barranco.