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New tourist exchange rate of Bs.11,3

Margarita Island
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for Margarita Island
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2,044 posts
4 reviews
New tourist exchange rate of Bs.11,3

For those of you visiting Venezuela there are some things you need to know about money exchange here.

The government has an official exchange rate of Bs.6,3 to US$1 for the last year.

If you went to a bank or exchange house to change your US$ that is the rate that you would be paid.

It also applied to all credit & debit card transactions.

Once you arrive in Venezuela you will quickly realize that there is an active market for exchange at 9 or 10 times the official rate. Based on this very few visitors ever changed at the official rate.

Unfortunately many uninformed visitors arrived in the country thinking that they could just use their credit or debit cards. They are shocked when they discover that they have to pay the official rate on these transactions.

Just to give an example if you had a meal with drinks & the bill for 2 people was Bs.1.000 & you paid for this with your credit card the charge that would appear is US$158.73 + any bank charges. On the other hand if you had brought US$ cash & exchanged in the "street" then that same meal would have cost you around US$18.

The government announced this week that in order to encourage visitors to exchange at official rates they will pay Bs.11,3. Wow, what a savings! In the example above the meal would then cost US$88.50 if paid for by credit card.

The moral of this explanation is bring US$ cash!!

Only use credit or debit cards in extreme emergencies.

Ponoka, Canada
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156 posts
24 reviews
1. Re: New tourist exchange rate of Bs.11,3

This is great info! Thanks for taking the time to post it!

Margarita Island
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for Margarita Island
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2,044 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: New tourist exchange rate of Bs.11,3

To update it to Feb. 16, 2014

The tourist rate is now Bs.11,7 to US$1 a change of about 3% since the post above in December, 2013.

The street rate is now more than 33% higher then what it was last December

Our example of a Bs.1.000 meal is now about $13 at the black market rate while the credit card rate would be about US$85.50.

Bring US$ cash.

Edited: 10:36 am, February 16, 2014
Margarita Island
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for Margarita Island
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2,044 posts
4 reviews
3. Re: New tourist exchange rate of Bs.11,3

UPDATE - March 25, 2014

A new exchange rate was introduced yesterday by the government called SICAD 2.

The first day's rate was Bs.51,86 to US$1.

While information is still very vague apparently tourists will be able to exchange cash at the daily rate of this new system.

I have not heard how this will affect foreign credit & debit cards and would strongly recommend that you not use them until it is clarified whether the rate will be SICAD 1 which is currently Bs.10,8 to US$1 or the new rate.

As always the best rates will be achieved with US$ CASH!

Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
10 posts
56 reviews
4. Re: New tourist exchange rate of Bs.11,3

Thanks for the above advice to previous posters. Truly appreciated. I will be going to Venezuela in a couple of weeks. Can anybody give an update on the situation of the new FX rate SICAD2. Can tourists like me really exchange at that rate? If yes, then where?

Also, if choose the 'old' black market. Where would you recommend to exchange? At the hotels or....? I am looking to exchange 500 US dollar at a time.

Thanks in advance

Margarita Island
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for Margarita Island
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2,044 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: New tourist exchange rate of Bs.11,3

The current Sicad 1 rate is now Bs.10,0 to US$1

The current Sicad 2 rate is now Bs.49,92 to US$1

Still have not been able to determine what rate credit & debit cards are being charged.

Would appreciate anyone reading here who knows to post it here.

I would assume that the banks & some exchange houses are now working under the new Sicad 2 system but things are all still very vague. Bring US$ cash & you'll have no problem changing it.

Remember that once you buy Bs. you are stuck with them. There is no reverse sale. You can't buy $$ with Bs. as a tourist unless that has also changed.

Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
10 posts
56 reviews
6. Re: New tourist exchange rate of Bs.11,3

Thank you for the update and the quick reply.

I understand that bringing cash is the best solution.

Excuse my ignorance, but low practically where would be the best place to make the exchange?

And can you exchange up till 1.000 usd at the time?

Margarita Island
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for Margarita Island
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2,044 posts
4 reviews
7. Re: New tourist exchange rate of Bs.11,3

In answer to your comment about the amount.

If you are changing through legal channels at the Sicad2 rate then $1,000 would be no problem.

If you are using unofficial channels then be VERY careful.

I would not change more than a few hundred at one time.

You'll just make yourself a target.

A further update.

I was trying to open a US$ account today at one of the major private banks.

Trying is the phrase here.

It's been 3 attempts & still not open - another story.

I asked the young lady if tourists come to her branch with cash or traveler's cheques could they expect to get Bs. at the Sicad 2 rate. She said that the bank was not accepting this type of transaction.

As I said in an earlier post - it's all very vague.

Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
10 posts
56 reviews
8. Re: New tourist exchange rate of Bs.11,3

Thank you very much Playa. Good info. Yes, the Sicad2 is really vague at this stage. What i read in articles. It seems like it does not have the desired effect, since the 'blacmarket' dollar actually went up instead down as they hoped for. It just shows it is tough to control the market forces. Okay, i will exchange a little at a time. Would you suggest to do it at airport or hotel?

Thanks again for you inputs and good luck setting up your new account

Margarita Island
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for Margarita Island
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2,044 posts
4 reviews
9. Re: New tourist exchange rate of Bs.11,3

As I understand it the reason the Sicad2 process is not failing exactly but not serving it's purpose is that the government does not have sufficient dollars to fund the process.

There is a huge demand & little transparency as to what is actually going on.

In a normal market the demand would push the price up but this is not happening & only a very few actually get the dollars they want each day.

As a result the black market goes up as it fills in the vacuum.

Enjoy your stay in Venezuela. Hopefully you'll make it to Isla Margarita

Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
10 posts
56 reviews
10. Re: New tourist exchange rate of Bs.11,3

Thank you again. You are right.

I will stay in pto la cruz for for a couple of weeks, so I think i will very likely go to margarita :-)

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