When travelling in Venezuela you need to be prepared for the strange money situation.
In a nutshell you need to take enough cash for your entire time in Venezuela. If you use any type of money machine or credit card you will pay twice as much as you will if you exchange your cash on the black market…
Yes, twice as much!
Why is this?
The official rate of Venezuela
The “official” exchange rate of Venezuela is fixed at 4 Bolivars to 1 $USD.
This is the rate you will get if you withdraw money from any financial institution, cash machine or use your credit card.
This official rate does not reflect the true market value of a Bolivar which has created the need for black market trade.
The black market rate
Tourists can sell their US dollars or Euros for more than two times the official rate or approximately 8.5 Bolivars to 1 $USD.
This rate does fluctuate somewhat and different traders will give you different rates. It is worth asking around. Many hotels will be able to suggest a trader or will trade Euro’s or $USD themselves.
In one trade we met with a dodgy looking European man in a cafe, we traded currencies in the open and had no problems.
How to plan your money in Venezuela
It is important to bring enough cash in USD$ or Euros to pay for your entire trip and shop around for money exchange. Cost wise you are better to have too much foreign currency than not enough.
Even if you exchange your money on the black market Venezuela is not a cheap place to visit (especially Caracas) however if you use your bank cards or credit cards it will double in price.
If you have any questions about our experience there, just post them below and we will do our best to answer them 🙂
Note: this article was written during our visit to Venezuela in 2012. The rate will change, so check the official rate online and ask around for the black market rate. It pays to shop around.