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.