The last thing to happen during your Patagonia trip is not to have enough foreign currency with you. We speak from experience that it is not always easy to exchange money while you are traveling in Patagonia. Certainly because Argentina and Chile still often deal with cash money and where the signal is not so strong, card payments are not always possible. We give you some tips about where to exchange money in Patagonia.
Exchange money in Patagonia: before your trip
The most important tip: take cash some US dollars, Euro or British Pound before you start your travel to Patagonia. You can easily exchange it in every bigger city in Argentina or Chile such as El Calafate, Punta Arenas, Puerto Montt, … Because extracting money from an ATM is incredibly expensive!
Where exchange money in Patagonia?
In all bigger cities, you can easily exchange USD, Euro, GBP, … to the local currency. Do you start your trip in Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chile? Exchange there your money for the upcoming trip to Patagonia. Exchange money in Patagonia during your trip isn’t that difficult. You can go to a bank or exchange offices on weekdays.
Do you want to pick up money at Western Union? That is possible. In El Calafate, Ushuaia, Punta Arenas are Western Union offices. Be aware, only open on weekdays. At the weekend it’s a little bit harder to exchange. Check some local stores that offer exchange services. Supermarkets often provide that service. You buy a small thing – a bottle of water – and pay with your USD or Euro. They will give the local currency in exchange in Patagonia.
Why should you need some cash with you?
Having Argentina peso or Chilean peso is handy for small things. To buy a gift, the tip at the restaurant or buying some things on the way. At bigger stores or fuel stations, it will be easy to pay with a credit card. However, some fuel stations are so desolated that they don’t have a signal to process credit card payments. Check therefore your route.
Also, you will make some profit if you pay cash in Argentina. For example, the official exchange rate is 60 ARS for one US dollar. On the black market or with Western Union, you will get 100 ARS for one US dollar. Meaning, that you will save 40% during your trip. The tip when to exchange money in Patagonia.
One more tip, if you pay cash in Argentina or Chile, you will often get a discount. Especially when going for lunch or dinner. Outside you see a billboard with “descuento paga en efectivo”. Meaning: pay cash and get a discount.