Currency

The official currency of Argentina is the Argentine peso. (ARS)

1 USD = 59 PESO

The Argentine peso is abbreviated as ARS and has a symbol similar to the dollar ($) sign. The Argentine peso is divided into 100 sub-units called centavos. The Central Bank of Argentina is responsible for producing and releasing currency in the country. The Argentine peso currently exists in both coinage and bill form. The coins are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 centavos while bills come in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos. The bank of Argentina seeks to increase the denominations of the currency released into circulation by introducing 200, 500, and 1000-peso notes. The notes are printed with the Argentinean natural environment in mind as they include animals and the physical environment. The homer, Argentina’s national bird, is on the 1000-peso note.

Argentina has been battling with inflation since the late 20th century due to high government spending leading to foreign debt. Increasing inflation led to the devaluation of the currency and defaulting on foreign debt. In the 1980s, inflation led to the replacement of the previous peso with a new currency to help reduce the inflation created during the previous dictatorial regime. However, the situation in Argentina kept declining. Political regimes have tried to improve inflation, which currently stands at around 30%. Some economists forecast the exhaustion of Argentina’s foreign reserves if measures to control the inflation are not developed.

If a friend or relative traveled to Argentina some years ago, and wants to tell you prices as a reference of what it costs to have a coffee, for example, it will not be useful because of inflation.  This is not something that affects tourists.

It has never been cheaper to visit Argentina, as the nation’s economic struggles have caused a dramatic plunge in the value of the peso.

At present, US dollars are accepted by many tourist-oriented businesses, but you should always carry some pesos.

Many (but not all) tourist services, larger stores, restaurants and hotels – especially in the bigger cities – take credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard.

 

Some businesses add a recargo (surcharge) of 5% to 10% toward credit-card purchases. Also, the actual amount you’ll eventually pay depends upon the official exchange rate not at the time of sale but when the purchase is posted to an overseas account, sometimes weeks later.

If you use a credit card to pay restaurant bills, be aware that tips can’t usually be added to the bill. Many lower-end hotels and private tour companies will not accept credit cards. Many places will give you a small discount if you pay in cash rather than use a credit card.