1. Help Centre
  2. South America Travel Information

Spending Money (South America)

Here is a reference table of local currencies and very approximate exchange rates (for up to date exchange rates, please check before you travel):

  Local Currency AUD $1 =
Argentina Peso (ARS) 155.99
Bolivia Boliviano (BOB) 4.59
Brazil Real (BRL) 3.30
Chile Peso (CLP) 530.91
Peru Sol (PEN) 2.45

(source: https://www.xe.com/ as 23rd May 2023)

We recommend that you have access to more than one source of money – bringing a combination of cash and a credit/debit card will give the most security and flexibility while travelling.

Plan ahead

Be prepared with enough cash in hand for the next few days. Once you have started your tour, you will quickly get a sense of how often or how much you need to exchange money. Try not to leave this to the last minute: exchange desks can close, ATMs can run out of cash and your group could be scheduled to leave your hotel early morning!

Spending Money

We recommend you take some local currency for the country you are visiting as well as US Dollars. We also recommend taking a debit and/or credit card. Please ensure you have sufficient funds to pay for personal expenses such as drinks, snacks, souvenirs, additional tipping and optional extras.

Counterfeit Cash

It is a good idea to stand at the desk to count and check the condition of each note. Do not accept any notes which are torn, very faded, a different shade, have ink stamps or any writing on them. If you accept the notes and sign the exchange receipt, then notice a problem, you will not be able to exchange them.

Credit/Debit Card 

Taking one credit/debit card is recommended in case of emergency and may be used for large purchases in most of your hotels, department stores and souvenir stores. The most widely accepted credit cards include Visa and MasterCard. However, please do not rely on a credit/debit card as your only source of spending money and keep a photocopy of your card(s).

Travellers Cheques

We do not recommend taking any travellers cheques to South America.


We do not recommend you rely on ATMs entirely as they can be unreliable, and overseas withdrawal fees for credit and debit accounts can be very high (we recommend checking your
bank’s fees before departing).

Remote Areas 

Banking facilities are very basic and you will need to plan ahead with more care. ATMs in remote areas or rural regions are unreliable and should not be used as a source of money. Few hotels, restaurants or shops are able to take credit/debit cards and Australian currency is not well recognised.