Money and duty free for Argentina
Currency & Money
Peso (ARS; symbol AR$) = 100 centavos. Peso notes are in denominations of AR$500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of AR$2 and 1, and in 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 centavos.
US Dollars are accepted in some hotels and tourist centres. Prices in US Dollars are typically marked with US$ to avoid confusion, but sometimes both peso and dollar prices are both preceded by just $, so check if unsure.
Most major credit cards are accepted, but not as widely as in the US or Europe; even some major hotels do not have credit card facilities.
ATMs are available in most cities and have options in English, but it is still best to carry alternative forms of payment as daily withdrawal limits are low and machines don’t always work. During national holidays ATMs can run out so it is wise to withdraw in advance.
Foreign tourists who are not resident in Argentina can no longer pay for tourism-related services (air tickets, bus travel, hotel rooms, all-inclusive tours etc) in Pesos. These services must be paid for with foreign credit and bank cards, money transfers (in foreign currencies) from abroad, in cash with foreign money (eg US Dollars) or with cheques from foreign accounts.
It is advised to bring traveller’s cheques in US Dollars; these can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and some hotels. However, it is often difficult to exchange these in the smaller towns.
Foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks and authorised cambios (bureaux de change), which are available in all major cities. Visitors should be aware that due to the instability of the peso, there is a large ‘blue’ market for dollars, which provides a much more favourable exchange rate of exchange. Whilst it is illegal to exchange currency in from these unauthorised money lenders, the practice is so common so as to make the black market rate the de facto rate.
Argentina duty free
The following goods may be imported into Argentina by travellers over 16 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• US$300 in personal or new goods if arriving by air or sea, plus an additional US$300 of goods purchased in duty-free shops upon arrival.
• US$150 in personal or new goods if arriving by land or waterway, plus an additional US$150 of goods purchased in duty-free shops upon arrival.
Travellers under 16 may import half these amounts.
You should declare upon arrival items that might not be considered part of normal luggage (such as expensive camera equipment or musical instruments) and show the declaration on departure. A licence is required for firearms and ammunition for hunting purposes. You must declare gold.
Firearms (unless under licence from the National Arms Registry), explosives, flammables, narcotics, and goods considered a risk to health or safety.