The Official Currency for Peru: What You Need to Know for a Captivating Trip to Peru

currency for peru

Traveling to Peru and unsure about managing the local currency? The official currency for Peru is the Nuevo Solintroduced in 1991 as a measure to stabilize their economy.

This blog post will provide a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about Peruvian currency – from exchange rates and carrying money safely, dealing with counterfeit banknotes, to tipping etiquette.

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Let’s delve into it so that your adventure in Peru remains unhindered by monetary concerns!

Key Takeaways

  • The official currency for Peru is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (S/), which has been in use since 1991.
  • The Peruvian Nuevo Sol, the currency for Peru, comes in both coins and banknotes, with coins available in multiple denominations.
  • American dollars are widely accepted in Peru, but it’s important to carry small denominations of both the currency for Peru and dollars for convenience.
  • Travelers should be cautious about counterfeit money, as it is a significant issue in Peru. Familiarize yourself with the local currency for Peru’s security features to avoid scams.

Overview of Peruvian Currency

the current currency for peru

The official currency for Peru is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (S/), which has been in use since 1991.

Currency for Peru: The Peruvian Nuevo Sol (S/)

The Peruvian Nuevo Sol (S/) is the official currency for Peru, in use since 1991. The Central Reserve Bank of Peru introduced it to stabilize the economy after a period of hyperinflation.

Replacing the former Inti currency, this new legal tender divided into 100 smaller units called cents. A significant fact, each coin’s design varies and features iconic images alongside the Coat of Arms of Peru—an integral part of their national identity.

Its origins trace back to decisions made during the 1929 World Crisis ultimately leading to its current form and continued use as the currency for Peru today.

Interesting facts about the Peruvian Nuevo Sol

The official currency for Peru, the Peruvian Nuevo Sol, boasts an intriguing history and unique features. Here are a few fascinating facts:

  1. The Central Reserve Bank of Peru introduced the nuevo sol as legal currency for Peru in 1991 to address economic instability.
  2. Replacing the inflation – hit inti, one nuevo sol equated to one million of its predecessor.
  3. This robust currency for Peru comprises coins and banknotes, with coins obtainable in multiple denominations.
  4. You can find banknotes readily circulating in values of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 nuevos soles.
  5. The Central Reserve Bank of Peru maintains stringent regulations over its issuance and distribution of the currency for Peru.
  6. To thwart counterfeit attempts, each banknote of the currency for Peru carries a distinctive watermark feature.
  7. The design elements on the currency for Peru reflect the rich cultural heritage of Peru or pay tribute to national heroes like war pilot José Abelardo Quiñones Gonzales.
  8. Limited edition monetary units of the currency for Peru occasionally come into circulation to commemorate special events or aspects of Peruvian life.
  9. Although primarily used within Peru’s borders, you may also encounter comparisons with international currencies such as American dollars or euros in terms of exchange rates.

History and Origins of Peruvian Currency

the inti was used before the sol as the currency for peru

The evolution of the currency for Peru has roots deeply embedded in the country’s history. It first transitioned during the 1929 World Crisis, leading to the creation of the Central Reserve Bank of Peru.

This step was an active response to cope with economic and monetary crises that had started cascading worldwide, affecting the currency for Peru.

Peru saw a massive shift in its economy when Alberto Fujimori introduced numerous reforms aimed at reordering it for future growth. Surprisingly enough, this led to drastic changes in Peru’s legal tender too.

The Inti, which was previously recognized as the status quo currency for Peru since 1990, needed replacement due to severe hyperinflation affecting the nation.

Nuevo Sol emerged during these challenging times as a beacon of stabilization wrapped in patriotic symbolism and functioned as a lifeline for Peru’s fragile economy. As part of this bold change, one nuevo sol became equivalent to one million intis or a thousand million old Peruvian soles precisely on July 1st, 1991 under Currency Authority: Central Bank of Reserve of Perú.

Economic stability wasn’t overnight; instead took years worth struggle accompanied by strategic policies from both local governing bodies and international stakeholders like International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Today you’ll find vibrant banknotes of the currency for Peru showcasing iconic figures like José Abelardo Quiñones Gonzales – national hero and war pilot whose valor resonates even now across all generations within Peru.

Exchanging and Carrying Money in Peru

exchanging currency in peru

When traveling to Peru, it is important to know the best places to exchange money and tips for carrying money safely.

Best places to exchange money

Exchange your money safely and conveniently at the following places in Peru:

  1. Casas de cambio (exchange houses): It is advisable to exchange money at reputable exchange houses rather than on the street for safety reasons.
  2. Banks: Most banks in Peru offer currency exchange services, making them a reliable option for exchanging your money.
  3. ATMs: ATMs are widely available in urban areas of Peru, allowing you to withdraw local currency using your debit or credit card.
  4. Hotels: Some hotels also provide currency exchange services, although they may charge higher fees compared to other options.

View the most recent Soles to Dollar exchange rate here: Bloomberg FOREX

The use of American dollars in Peru

Many travelers wonder if they need to exchange their currency for Peruvian nuevo sol when visiting Peru. The good news is that American dollars are widely accepted in the country. You can use US dollars for various transactions, including paying for hotel stays, shopping, dining out, and even taking taxis.

This widespread acceptance of US dollars makes it convenient for tourists who may not have had the chance to exchange their money before arriving in Peru. However, it’s important to note that while many businesses accept US dollars, they may give you change in Peruvian soles instead.

It’s advisable to carry small denominations of both currencies to ensure you can make exact payments and avoid any inconvenience.

Tips for carrying money safely

Here are some tips to help you carry your money safely while traveling in Peru:

  1. Keep your cash in multiple secure locations, such as a money belt, hidden pouch, or a locked bag.
  2. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you; only take what you need for the day.
  3. Use a credit card or debit card for most transactions instead of carrying a lot of cash.
  4. Be cautious when using ATMs and make sure to use ones located in well – lit and busy areas.
  5. Avoid displaying large sums of money in public and be discreet when making purchases or paying bills.
  6. Don’t leave your belongings unattended, especially when withdrawing money from an ATM or exchanging currency.
  7. Consider using traveler’s checks as an alternative to carrying cash, as they can be easily replaced if lost or stolen.
  8. Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts if something feels suspicious or unsafe.

For more safety tips on Peru make sure to read our Traveling to Peru Safety Tips.

Dealing with Counterfeit Money in Peru

counterfeit currency for peru

Counterfeit money is a significant issue in Peru, particularly in major cities. Travelers should be aware that both nuevos soles and dollars can be counterfeited. To protect yourself from counterfeit banknotes, familiarize yourself with the local currency and its security features.

One important feature to look for is watermarks on the banknotes, which are used to prevent counterfeiting. Additionally, it’s essential to be cautious of money scams and trust your instincts when handling cash transactions.

Tips for Bargaining and Tipping in Peru

When shopping or dining in Peru, keep these tips in mind for bargaining and tipping:

  1. Bargaining: In markets and small shops, it is common to negotiate prices. Start by offering a lower price than the one quoted and be prepared to meet somewhere in the middle.
  2. Respectful approach: Remember to always be polite and respectful during negotiations. It helps establish a positive rapport with the seller.
  3. Research prices: Before you start bargaining, take some time to research average prices for the item or service you’re interested in. This will give you an idea of what is a fair price.
  4. Bundle items: Consider buying multiple items from the same vendor to increase your chances of getting a discount. Vendors are more likely to offer better deals when they see larger sales potential.
  5. Tipping guidelines: While tipping is not mandatory in Peru, it is appreciated in certain situations. If you receive excellent service at a higher-end restaurant or hotel, leaving a 10-15% tip would be appropriate.
  6. Small gratuities: It’s also common to leave small change as a gesture of appreciation for services rendered, such as hotel staff carrying your bags or taxi drivers helping with luggage.

The Role of Banks and ATMs in Peru

Banks and ATMs play a crucial role in providing convenient access to money exchange services and cash withdrawal for travelers in Peru.

Comparing banks and other money exchange options

Banks and other money exchange options are plentiful in Peru, but the kind of service and rates provided can vary significantly. Below is a brief comparison of these options:

Exchange OptionAccessibilityExchange RatesFeesRequirements
BanksAvailable throughout the country. Banks like Banco de la Nación and BBVA are some of the most common.Usually offer competitive rates.Some banks may charge a transaction fee for exchanging currency.May require identification or account with the bank.
ATMsATMs are widespread, even in smaller towns and rural areas.Rate is often based on your home bank’s rates, which can be higher than local rates.May charge a withdrawal fee. Additionally, your home bank may also apply a foreign transaction fee.Usually require a debit or credit card.
Money Exchange OfficesThese are commonly found in tourist areas.They often provide competitive rates, especially if you’re exchanging large amounts.Usually do not charge a fee.May require identification.
Currency Exchange KiosksThese kiosks are common in airports and shopping malls.Rates are often less favorable than banks or money exchange offices.May charge a high service fee.Usually no special requirements.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to compare the rates and fees offered by different options before making a decision.

Using credit cards and ATMs

  • You can easily access cash in Peru by using credit cards and ATMs.
  • Most major credit cards, such as Visa and Mastercard, are widely accepted in Peru.
  • Look for ATMs that display familiar logos to ensure compatibility with your card.
  • When using ATMs, be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to protect your personal information.
  • It is a good idea to notify your bank or credit card company of your travel plans before you go to avoid any issues with accessing funds while abroad.
  • Keep in mind that some smaller establishments may only accept cash, so it’s always a good idea to have some local currency on hand.
  • Be aware of any fees associated with international transactions or ATM withdrawals and plan accordingly.
  • If you encounter any issues with your credit card or ATM, contact your bank or credit card provider immediately for assistance.


In conclusion, understanding the official currency of Peru, the nuevo sol, is essential for travelers visiting the country. With its interesting history and origins, as well as tips on exchanging and carrying money safely, visitors can navigate Peru’s financial landscape with confidence.

By being informed about counterfeit money precautions and knowing how to bargain and tip appropriately, tourists can make the most of their Peruvian experience while ensuring a smooth financial journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the official currency of Peru?

The official currency of Peru is the Peruvian Sol (PEN).

Can I use US dollars in Peru?

While some businesses may accept US dollars in tourist areas, it is generally recommended to have local currency on hand as it will be accepted everywhere and you may receive better exchange rates.

Where can I exchange my money for Peruvian Sols?

You can exchange your money for Peruvian Sols at banks, exchange offices, or authorized foreign exchange providers. It is advisable to compare rates and fees before making an exchange.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Peru?

Credit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas in Peru. However, it is always a good idea to carry some cash for small vendors or establishments that might not accept card payments.

About the Author

Founder of Karikuy, an organization in Peru that brings travelers to visit and explore the country. Julio also runs the Karikuy Volunteer program and is the editor of this blog. Julio likes to write about his adventures in Peru as well as Peruvian folklore, mysteries and secluded locations.

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