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joules
Ive just spent a few days in Venezuela, and Im getting confused about the currency exchange.

At ItalCambio, and other licensed exchange places, u get about 2,100 bolivares for a US dollar.

However, not one but SEVERAL people (who are friends that I trust) claim that the REAL exchange is about 3,500 and that u can get around 3,000 on the black market quite easily (I havent tried though).


How is this possible? 5 or 10% commision, sure....but not more than
30%!!

The explanation Ive been given is that ItalCambio is the only exchange authorised by Chaves, and he basically ensures the state gets a nice healthy 30+% slice of all transations......


Does anybody know the real story? If this were true, wouldnt I be able to make a fortune just buying US dollars near the official rate (if thats at all possible), and selling em again on the black market?
joules
i think I found the answer to my own question.....

from:
http://www.sidestep.com/travel-guides/text...Id=FR0812020005



Currency Exchange & Rates -- In January 2002, the government fixed the official exchange rate at 1600Bs to the U.S. dollar. It also made it virtually impossible for Venezuelan citizens and businesses, as well as tourists, to exchange bolivares for dollars. This has led to a thriving black market, where the real exchange rate hovers around 2500Bs to the dollar as of press time. The most common place to exchange dollars for bolivares at the black market rate is the Simón Bolívar International airport. While this is technically illegal, and you should be careful about whom you deal with, I nevertheless recommend changing dollars at the black market rate, as it will make your dollars go considerably further
joules
BTW, can anybody tell me which other countries in Central or South America have this fcked up system?

I dont really want to carry alot of US$ with me for security reasons....on the other hand, I dont really want to pay 50% more than I have to for everything....
whereshegoes
Hi Joules

I can tell you from living in Argentina for a year that it seems to be quite the norm within South America...There they also have alot of problems with counterfit money.

It sure makes one appreciate the easy trusted system we have in more developed societies.
Jessica_CDN
Yeah...just got back from Venezuela myself and found the exact same thing.

If you buy Bolos (Bolivars) before you go to Venezuela, things are quite expensive because of the runaway inflation. Since the Bolo is pegged to the dollar at about 2100 Bolos to the dollar, prices don't really adjust properly. Therefore, the best thing to do is bring lots of US dollars and buy Bolos on theblack market, then the prices are actually more reasonable.

But don't forget, it's illegal and you can still get in trouble for it, so be discreet!!

I think that the black market exchange rate is even higher now....it seemed like it was around 2800 bolos to the dollar when I was there.

Oh yeah...and the lonely planet South America prices are about a third of what they actually are in V at the moment, so beware of that!
mikemel
Hi

We´re in Venezuela now

Official rate is 2,400

Black market rate is anywhere from 3,000 to 3,750 (3,000 was at Caracas international airport - we thought we were getting a good deal on our first exchange, the next rate was 20% higher!!!)

Yes, it´s illegal, but everyone does it. We´re in the touristy town of Mérida (local tourists, not just gringos!) at the moment and there are even signs up.

You can get the black market rate on TCs too.....though the rate is slightly worse - we got 3,400 for TCs and 3,650 for USD cash
Jessica_CDN
Wow - that's a big difference. Is the government cracking down on it at all?
mikemel
Don´t seem to be. Everyone´s pretty relaxed on the street here, changing money.

Apparently the govt sends very obvious looking people around every now and then!!
Jessica_CDN
Weird - you'd think they'd either crack down on it or unpeg their currency. One of the many things I don't really understand aboug Hugo.

How long have you been in Venezuela?
luisritz
I am looking to do business in Venezuela but how can I get around the exchange? I know the government keeps a tight lid on exchange. So how can I exchange bolivar back to US dollars? Can I exchange into the Euro & then maybe into the US dollar? Can any one please help me?

budgetsyria
The official price for Venezuelan Bolivares is 2,100 but in the black market you can sell it between 6,000 to 7,000 .... this is because there is no economic stability anymore ....

scubagirlve
The prices have gone down very much because the government expressed(emitted) bonds in dollars
caracas_loco09
I got back from Venezuela 2 days ago and wanted to brief people who are or are thinking of going. Some quick tips;
1-Money!!! plan what your going to do! We took $1000 dollars and spent $600 on the Angel falls trip. What we didn't know was that if we wanted money after this we would either have to withdraw from the bank (if your card works...it doesn't seem to at least at the weekend) or pay by card. The trouble is by withdrawing or paying by card you are paying THE OFFICIAL EXCHANGE Rate which the government has fixed at just over 2 Bolivars to the $ whereas on the black market the rate can be as high as 5.5 (we did hear people who got a rate of 6 but be careful as we also heard of people who got ripped off). All shop prices, trips and hotels are based on the UNOFFICIAL exchange rate and therefore if your paying the official rate your paying up to 3 times as much.

So whats the solution? I think you have 3 options-

1-Take all your money with you in dollars or Euros (much more sought after than the dollar currently) and exchange on the black market. If your worried about changing in the airport we did so and got a decent rate (5 for the dollar and 7 for the Euro) however this is illegal and yet everyone is doing it openly in the airport! Worried about changing all this in the aiport-change just a small amount in the aiport or an amount you need and then ask your hotel, posada and/or guest house where a more relaible black market person can be found. We asked our posada owner and he sent us to a local shop who gave us the rate of 5 for dollar and 7 for Euro.

2-get accomodation before you go (so you know what your paying) and/or if your paying when you get there get a European owned posada or hotel. They will more than likely (check) have an account in the EU or paypal and therefore you can pay by dollars, Euro's or pounds (although the pound is not recognised at all to change on the black market!). Don't change your dollars in the hotel unless there offering you a competitve rate (you can find this out by asking around)

3-If the posada offers option 2 ask if you can overpay and then get the change back in Bolivares and a better rate. They want the money in dollars so they can get it out of the country so remeber you are doing them as much of a favour as they are so negotaite

4-Pay by card and withdraw cash and you are overpaying by 3 times as much-DON'T you are getting stung andf the options above are available in most places you just have to keep asking and be careful. I wouldn't advise any of the options in Caracas due to the chances of getting ripped off (or worse)!

If you want my low down on security on Caracas or the rest of Venezuela read my next article. It might sound like i was organised when going but this couldn't be further from the truth, luckily we managed to take the $1000 dollars and were able to transfer money into an EU account with the posada so managed to at least not pay over the odds for too much!! Follow the above and you shouldn't encounter the stresses we did for a few days.

Rich
caracas_loco09
I got back from Venezuela 2 days ago and wanted to brief people who are or are thinking of going. Some quick tips;
1-Money!!! plan what your going to do! We took $1000 dollars and spent $600 on the Angel falls trip. What we didn't know was that if we wanted money after this we would either have to withdraw from the bank (if your card works...it doesn't seem to at least at the weekend) or pay by card. The trouble is by withdrawing or paying by card you are paying THE OFFICIAL EXCHANGE Rate which the government has fixed at just over 2 Bolivars to the $ whereas on the black market the rate can be as high as 5.5 (we did hear people who got a rate of 6 but be careful as we also heard of people who got ripped off). All shop prices, trips and hotels are based on the UNOFFICIAL exchange rate and therefore if your paying the official rate your paying up to 3 times as much.

So whats the solution? I think you have 3 options-

1-Take all your money with you in dollars or Euros (much more sought after than the dollar currently) and exchange on the black market. If your worried about changing in the airport we did so and got a decent rate (5 for the dollar and 7 for the Euro) however this is illegal and yet everyone is doing it openly in the airport! Worried about changing all this in the aiport-change just a small amount in the aiport or an amount you need and then ask your hotel, posada and/or guest house where a more relaible black market person can be found. We asked our posada owner and he sent us to a local shop who gave us the rate of 5 for dollar and 7 for Euro.

2-get accomodation before you go (so you know what your paying) and/or if your paying when you get there get a European owned posada or hotel. They will more than likely (check) have an account in the EU or paypal and therefore you can pay by dollars, Euro's or pounds (although the pound is not recognised at all to change on the black market!). Don't change your dollars in the hotel unless there offering you a competitve rate (you can find this out by asking around)

3-If the posada offers option 2 ask if you can overpay and then get the change back in Bolivares and a better rate. They want the money in dollars so they can get it out of the country so remeber you are doing them as much of a favour as they are so negotaite

4-Pay by card and withdraw cash and you are overpaying by 3 times as much-DON'T you are getting stung andf the options above are available in most places you just have to keep asking and be careful. I wouldn't advise any of the options in Caracas due to the chances of getting ripped off (or worse)!

If you want my low down on security on Caracas or the rest of Venezuela read my next article. It might sound like i was organised when going but this couldn't be further from the truth, luckily we managed to take the $1000 dollars and were able to transfer money into an EU account with the posada so managed to at least not pay over the odds for too much!! Follow the above and you shouldn't encounter the stresses we did for a few days.

Rich
scarlett007
I have a question for all of you that changed money on the black labour market in Venezuela. Is there no danger that they would give you counterfeited money?
thank you for reply
caracas_loco09
QUOTE(scarlett007 @ Nov 27 2009, 01:07 PM) *

I have a question for all of you that changed money on the black labour market in Venezuela. Is there no danger that they would give you counterfeited money?
thank you for reply

Hi, don't exchange on the street if you can help it. Me and my girlfriend exchanged at the airport when leaving the country because we had to pay the depature tax. Try not to get into this situation but if you find yourself needing money when you leave at the airport exchange in arrivals rather than departure as you'll get a better rate.

There are legitimate blackmarket places to exchange money, the best thing to do is ask your hostel or hotel and they will point you in the direct. We exchanged through someone in a shop so there was no danger of getting ripped off. We heard of people who got ripped off in the street not by fakes but by them swapping the money at some point. So stick to somewhere or someone who you have been advised to see and you (if marginally) trust.

Good luck.
fjd144
[quote name='joules' date='Nov 29 2006, 01:25 PM' post='15242']
Ive just spent a few days in Venezuela, and Im getting confused about the currency exchange.

At ItalCambio, and other licensed exchange places, u get about 2,100 bolivares for a US dollar.

However, not one but SEVERAL people (who are friends that I trust) claim that the REAL exchange is about 3,500 and that u can get around 3,000 on the black market quite easily (I havent tried though).


How is this possible? 5 or 10% commision, sure....but not more than
30%!!

The explanation Ive been given is that ItalCambio is the only exchange authorised by Chaves, and he basically ensures the state gets a nice healthy 30+% slice of all transations......


Does anybody know the real story? If this were true, wouldnt I be able to make a fortune just buying US dollars near the official rate (if thats at all possible), and selling em again on the black market?
[/quote


the answer is that the official rates are not the true value of the currency. This always happens with this type of regime which thinks it canlegislate the rate and thinks market forces are a cia plot. The actual parallel market rate at which anyone with bolivars will bite your hand off to get imperialist yankee dollars is 8.30.. so much for the Vens who you trust huh!
scubagirlve



the black market the real price is 5 bs by dollar, but you need be care. This is not simple Especially you must look after of changing in the aerepuerto, or public sites, Warn me the date that you come and the place that you want to go to give you all the information wherefrom it and as changing Many regards

[quote name='fjd144' date='May 19 2010, 05:56 PM' post='386861']
[quote name='joules' date='Nov 29 2006, 01:25 PM' post='15242']
Ive just spent a few days in Venezuela, and Im getting confused about the currency exchange.

At ItalCambio, and other licensed exchange places, u get about 2,100 bolivares for a US dollar.

However, not one but SEVERAL people (who are friends that I trust) claim that the REAL exchange is about 3,500 and that u can get around 3,000 on the black market quite easily (I havent tried though).


How is this possible? 5 or 10% commision, sure....but not more than
30%!!

The explanation Ive been given is that ItalCambio is the only exchange authorised by Chaves, and he basically ensures the state gets a nice healthy 30+% slice of all transations......


Does anybody know the real story? If this were true, wouldnt I be able to make a fortune just buying US dollars near the official rate (if thats at all possible), and selling em again on the black market?
[/quote


the answer is that the official rates are not the true value of the currency. This always happens with this type of regime which thinks it canlegislate the rate and thinks market forces are a cia plot. The actual parallel market rate at which anyone with bolivars will bite your hand off to get imperialist yankee dollars is 8.30.. so much for the Vens who you trust huh!
[/quote]
aniamonkey
Now realising I gotta take all cash to Venezuela for a month's trip, I was wondering which rate of exchange do you get for traveller's cheques? Can you get black market rate for traveller's cheques and is it relatively easy to find places (other than the banks) to change them? Does anyone know..??!! I'd be grateful for any advice anyone has... Cheers!
tips4venezuela
QUOTE(aniamonkey @ Feb 28 2011, 08:43 PM) *

Now realising I gotta take all cash to Venezuela for a month's trip, I was wondering which rate of exchange do you get for traveller's cheques? Can you get black market rate for traveller's cheques and is it relatively easy to find places (other than the banks) to change them? Does anyone know..??!! I'd be grateful for any advice anyone has... Cheers!


aniamonkey,

The current exchange rate is 4.3bs per USD officially and between 7-8bs per USD on the blackmarket, depends on what and how your exchanging. As for traveler's checks, they are a lot harder to exchange on the black market and when you find a place to exchange them; you can expect the lower exchange rate (6.5-7bs per USD). If you switch them at the bank or house of change, you will get the official rate (4.3bs per USD) if not a percentage lower due to the commission that the house of change charges. I believe it turns out to be somewhere around 4.15Bs. per USD. My recommendation is to take it in cash and if your worried about carrying to much cash then travelers checks are a whole lot better then taking out of the atm or using your bank cards, where you would get the official rate.

Feel free to get a hold of me for any extra help or info on Venezuela. I'm a independent travel consultant and guide of VZ.

Cheers,
tips4venezuela speak_cool.gif
another_gringo
It is no problem to get eleven bolivars per dollar, I have been told that more is possible but haven't changed for more yet. I am being told it will get better.
donnasmith
If I buy bolivars in the black market and I have "Left overs" how do I exchange them back to dolars? Can I just do it through the legal channel (currency exchange kiosk at the airpot) without problem?

Do they ask where did I get the money from?

Thanks guys
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