Exchanging money in Peru

Changing Money in Peru

Exchanging foreign currencies at banks, in your hotel, on the street or in exchange offices

In Peru US Dollars and Euros can be exchanged to local currency, the Peruvian Sol, easily without restrictions in hotels, banks, exchange offices or on the street. Changing other currencies or paying with them is often more difficult to impossible.

So, if you take foreign money with you to Peru then best US Dollars or Euro. Make sure that the banknotes you have are in pristine condition. Even the slightest flaw, including a tiny tear, wrinkles or normal wear, might cause rejection. Additionally, most places don’t accept US$ 100 bills; with Peru being the world leader in counterfeit money output, producing about 60% of the world’s finest fake US$ bills, understandable.

Many hotels, shops, tour operators, etc., especially in major cities in Peru accept payment in US$ sometimes as well in Euro. So, you might be able to save yourself from exchanging your money, however, be aware that the offered US$ price or Euro price might be higher than the Soles price.


Where to exchange money in Peru

Banks and hotels

The safest places to change money are surely banks and your hotel, but exchange rates are usually ridiculously low. So, best avoid these two options.

Money changers on the street

On the other hand, you can get good to extremely good exchange rates when changing money with the money changers, called Cambistas, on the street. They can be found literally everywhere (where tourists are) and those officially registered with the municipality they are working in wear color coded vests with a "$" sign / EURO written on the back and have proper identification documents.

But as with all "street deals" in Peru, don't forget to bargain and be extremely careful. Inform yourself about the current rate, otherwise the friendly cambista might see a chance to rip you off. Exchange rates will not only vary depending on the amount you will change, but as well on your appearance and behavior. For whatever reason, exchange rates on weekends are often slightly lower than on a weekday.

When changing money on the street, remember to keep a watchful eye on your surroundings. Don't let anybody disturb your transaction. Don't get distracted by a brief chat with the Cambista. Check with your own calculator (being good in mental arithmetic is a plus, otherwise use your phone) if the amount you want to change multiplied by the agreed exchange rate is the amount the cambista’s calculator shows. Count the money you get and always check for fake bills and coins. Unfortunately, foreign visitors are popular victims to circulate phony notes. So, have a good look at the notes you receive, but check the coins as well. Some Cambistas might accidentally (?) give you a S/ 2 instead of a S/ 5 coin. Quickly the good exchange rate can turn into the opposite.

If you are not familiar with the security features of Peruvian banknotes, we highly recommend to check out our article "How to distinguish between real and fake Peruvian money" before your first street transaction

Over the past decade Peru established itself as the world leader in counterfeit money output producing the world’s finest fake banknotes; mainly US...

Exchange offices

Probably the safest place to exchange money with still good rates are exchange offices, called Casa de Cambio in Peru. You get a fair rate, probably a little bit lower than on the street, but much higher than at a bank or in your hotel. In every good exchange office, you can make the transaction at ease and comfort. And you have the time and a place to carefully count and examine the money without being in the middle of the street and nobody looking over your shoulder.

But we recommend comparing rates offered by different exchange offices to find the best deal. Some places give better rates for Dollars than Euros and vice versa.

And best avoid the exchange offices at Lima’s airport, which usually offer the lowest exchange rates in town. We can only recommend either to withdraw some local cash at one of the numerous ATMs located inside the airport or only to exchange the absolute minimum. You can pay taxis from the airport to town for example in US Dollars (have enough small notes for this purpose) and once in the center exchange larger amounts you might need for much better rates.

Say something here...
characters left
or post as a guest
All comments MUST be in English and will be moderated before publishing.
They will appear below within 24 hours.
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jay patel · 27/03/2024
    I have exchanged peru currency
    • This commment is unpublished.
      • LimaEasy
      · 27/03/2024
      @Jay patel
      Hello Jay,

      good for you.

      Anything else I can help you with?

  • This commment is unpublished.
    brad · 08/03/2023
    Are you SURE the airport offers bad rates??  Other website says they are best in town. I find that true at the Mexico City airport, which has 50 desks competing for my business.  Is there much competition at the LIM airport?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      • LimaEasy
      · 08/03/2023
      @brad Hello Brad,

      Since I can remember, and that’s along time, the exchange rates for US$ and Euro at the exchange offices at the airport are among the worst in Lima. And honestly, you can’t compare Benito Juarez airport in Mexico City with Lima’s Jorge Chavez airport in Callao, these are worlds apart.

      At Lima’s airport you have 4 or 5 exchange “offices”, rather booths, one (or two) operated by WorldXChange, the others by Money Exchange IBK (Interbank). And you could as well exchange at one of the banks on the second floor.

      Anyway, I was intrigued by your statement that another website says the exchange rates at the airport are the best in town. I tried to find this website, but unfortunately wasn’t successful. Every single website I opened said, yes no problem to exchange money at the airport, it’s safe, and some added that the exchange rates are usually bad and often an additional commission is charged.

      As I haven’t been at the airport for a while and things change quickly in Peru, I as well asked some friends who are at the airport frequently. They confirmed that nothing changed, exchange rates at the exchange offices (shops might be different) on a rare good day are ok, but normally bad to very bad compared to other options in town. So, are you sure the “best exchange rates in town” statement was about Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, Peru? Would you share the link?

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Wilfred Cruz · 20/12/2022
    Where can I exchange money that has been taken out of circulation 
    • This commment is unpublished.
      • LimaEasy
      · 20/12/2022
      @Wilfred Cruz
      Hello Wilfred,

      what old banknotes do you have?

      If you have old Libras, Intis or Soles bills, be aware that they are not legal tender anymore. You can't exchange them or buy anything with them. If they are in pristine condition and/or a rare print, they might have a collector's value.


Peru Newsflash

Peru Event Calendar

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

Latest Content...

Latest Video

Maria Reiche - Memories

Maria Reiche - Memories

Submitted by: Tintin
05 December 2021

Long Reads...

  • Peruvian Archaeology

    The Mystery of the Nazca Lines in Peru

    In the 1920s, when people first flew across southern Peru, they made an astonishing discovery. Stretching below them,…
  • Peruvian Personalities & Founders

    Francisco Pizarro González (1474-1541)

    Francisco Pizarro, a peasant from Spain, was one of the least well-equipped conquerors in history. However, in the name…
  • Peruvian Archaeology

    The colorful Fabrics and Textiles of Peru

    Europe’s first knowledge of Peruvian textiles was acquired following the Spanish invasion of Peru in 1532, when the…
  • Peruvian Legends, Myths & Tales

    The Jeweled Frog and the Condor

    By a quiet pond, at the side of a cloud-topped mountain in Peru, lived a small green frog and his large green family.…
  • Peru Info

    Peruvian Economy

    The Peruvian economy is an emerging, social market economy highly dependent on foreign trade and classified as an upper…