Money Tips for Cusco
We know you are incredibly excited for your adventure in Peru! It’s one of the most cost-effective travel destinations with delicious, affordable food and amazing destinations. To make your experience the best it can possibly be, please keep these money tips in mind:
- Check your Bills: In Peru, please be careful of people giving you fake money. On the right-hand side of the newer Peruvian bills, there is a design that looks like a motherboard. This bit of ink is raised so you should be able to feel the slight bumps on a legitimate bill if you lightly scratch or rub your finger on it.
- Small Bills: When you withdraw cash, it will usually come in 100 and 50 sole bills. Try to break these into smaller bills as soon as you can. We recommend going to a restaurant or even a grocery store and paying with large bills so that you can get change. Other small stores or restaurants may not have change and might ask you to pay with small bills.
- Coins: Coins here actually matter. The smallest paper bill you can get is 10 soles. If you break one of those, you’ll get change in 1,2 and 5 sole coins. Don’t just think of this as spare change. If you’re from the USA, think of it more like being handed a $1, $2 and $5 bill!
- Don’t be Overcharged: By keeping small bills and coins on you, it’ll make it easier for you to haggle and not be overcharged. You don’t want to hail a cab (that costs 4-7 soles), get to your destination and only have a 20 sole bill to pay. It is important not to expect vendors to have change.
- Credit Card Fees: Cash is preferred or is the only thing accepted in most places. But if they do accept credit cards, be prepared to be charged an extra 3-6% to use it. It costs the establishments money to accept cards and since their profit margins are already so low, the convenience fee for using a card gets passed on to the customers.
- Suggested ATM: Banco del Credito (BCP) seems to have a lower fee (13 soles) and higher amount able to be withdrawn at once (approximately 700 soles). However, some people have also told us that BCP limits you to one withdrawal PER MONTH. Keep the duration of your trip in mind. Scotiabank charges a fee of 20 soles and has withdrawal limit of approximately 300 soles.
- Charles Schwab Reimburses ATM Fees: If you are travelling abroad, we highly suggest opening a Charles Schwab account before you go. This lets you access your cash without the soul crushing feeling of paying money to get your money. If for example the ATM fee comes to $7 USD (which is often standard in Cusco) you will still need to pay that up front, but Charles Schwab will reimburse you at the end of your billing cycle. Fees add up, and here in Peru, that money is enough for a five-course meal!!
- Foreign Transaction Fees: If you a travel, we highly suggest getting a Travel Credit Card such as Chase Sapphire Reserve or an American Express. They don’t charge FTFs which are usually around 3% every time you use a card abroad. Also, travel cards come with extra perks like a sign on bonus, travel insurance and access to airport lounges!
By Muriel Palanca