Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

Travel money guide: Peru

Traveling to Peru? Read our travel money guide to get the most out of the land of the Incas.


Fact checked
Get credit card suggestions Compare travel cards
Exchange currency online Compare cash pickup

If you’re traveling to Peru you’ll likely visit Machu Picchu and navigate the Inca trail, but there’s so much more to Peru to see. From the superb surfing and the bustling city of Lima, Peru is a must-see destination for anyone seeking adventure.

Cheaper than it’s neighbors, Ecuador and Colombia, your USD will go far in Peru with 1USD = 3.25PEN. And like its neighbors, cash is king, so be sure to exchange your dollar for sols at the airport in Lima. Though you’ll find places where you can use your Visa or Mastercard, don’t rely on using plastic outside of major shops and hotels. Most restaurants, hostels, ticket offices and tourist attractions are cash only, and you definitely can’t use your card in Machu Picchu.

Fake money in Peru

Counterfeit sols and dollars are a problem in Peru, mostly in the major cities. And spotting a counterfeit note can be hard, so become familiar with the local currency before you arrive. Scams are also common — short changing and pickpockets — so always be on alert.

How many sols do I need to bring?

As a major tourist attraction throughout the world, there are plenty of opportunities for you to spend a lot in Peru. But the good news is there are less expensive options for budget travelers who can budget as little as $15 dollars a day staying in hospedajes — cheap family owned hotels. Midrange travelers can budget for $50 a day, and a traveler that wants to live it up can plan for $150 a day.

Lima Budget Midrange Expensive
to-sleepHostel dorm bed

$8 per night

2 star hotel

$20 per night

5 star hotel

$100 per night



Plate of the day


Main dish at world class restaurant


guardWatch the changing of the guards at the Palacio de Gobierno


Lima bar crawl (plus drinks)

$35 per person

8 day tour of the Amazon and Machu Picchu from Lima

$1,600 per person

*Prices are approximate and subject to change

Exchange rate history

As one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America, Peru has seen a sharp decline in poverty in recent years. It has one of the most stable currencies and has held steady agains the USD for the past 10 years.

Send money to Peru

Travel card, debit card or credit card?

Plan to use your debit card to cover most of your day-to-day expenses while traveling in Peru. Visa and Mastercard are accepted by merchants that are set up to handle card payments, though fewer accept American Express. You’ll see those more at luxury hotels and restaurants.

You’ll find ATMs in most cities. Banco de Credito del Peru (BCP) has ATMs throughout the country, while Citi has a small presence in the larger cities of Lima and Cusco. Beware that in Ollantaytambo, home of the great Inca fortress, the ATMs can be unreliable, and there are no ATMs near Macho Picchu — so get cash before you leave.

Wait until you arrive in Peru to exchange you USD. Exchange companies in the US charge high commission, taking a cut of what could go a long way in Peru. You’ll find exchanges at the airport and in the cities or in banks — all offering about the same rate.

There are no travel cards that support Peruvian sols. If you can load another currency, find another card that waives the currency conversion fee so you can use it in Peru.

Travel money options for Peru at a glance

Travel money optionsProsConsiderations
Prepaid travel cards
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards
  • Reloadable online
  • Cannot load sols
  • Comes with lots of fees for loading and reloading, inactivity and ATM withdrawals
  • Exchange rates are lower than credit cards and debit cards
Debit cards
  • Can be used at all ATM and merchants in Peru
  • Charge less or $0 fee for ATM withdrawals
  • No currency conversion fee
  • ATM operator fees
  • No access to cash advance
Credit cards
  • Rewards program and travel insurance
  • Waived international ATM and conversion fees
  • Interest-free days on purchases
  • Up to 3% currency conversion fee may apply
  • Cash advance fee
Travelers checks
  • Accepted at most banks
  • Security
  • A commission fee applies
  • It can take a couple of hours to cash them at banks
  • Accepted anywhere
  • Convenient
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • High risk of theft

How each travel money option works

Prepaid travel cards

No travel cards support Peruvian sols, so look for a card which waives the currency conversion fee, such as Travelex if you’re set on taking a travel card when you visit Peru. These products won’t apply the additional charge for currency conversion when you spend in sols, which can be higher than what you’d pay if you use your regular debit or credit card. The compromise is these cards will charge you to use an international ATM withdrawal in Peru, which is a couple of dollars for each withdrawal. You can load these cards with another currency to use at some merchants— but don’t count on it. And you won’t get the best exchange rate.

  • Tip: When you get a travel card, you’ll get two for the same account. This can come in handy if your first card is lost or stolen, so make sure to keep the second card in a safe place.

Debit cards

ATMs are the best ways to get cash in Peru. You’ll find them in most towns and cities, though not on every street corner. You can withdraw both sols and dollars.

A Visa or Mastercard debit card can be used at all ATMs and some merchants throughout Peru. You’ll find that there are fewer places where you can use your card for over-the-counter purchases. Consider debit cards that charge less, or even nothing, for international ATM withdrawals and try to avoid cards with currency conversion fees.

Charles Schwab bank card doesn’t charge for currency conversion, waives the fee for international ATM withdrawals and has no annual fee. It’s good to note that most third-party banks will charge a fee to use their ATMs.

Credit cards

Credit cards are a must for any travel overseas. Besides providing emergency access to a line of credit, use a credit card for deposits and online reservations. Credit cards even have some handy travel features such as complimentary insurance and airport lounge access. But be careful, many credit cards charge a fee of about 3% of the transaction value for currency conversion.

Our comparison of credit cards includes a handful of cards suited for an overseas trip. Among these products is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Travelers checks

Once upon a time travelers checks were a popular way to take foreign currency overseas. Today, this type of travel money has been replaced by plastic. travel cards, debit cards and credit cards offer the same security features and are more convenient. In Peru, traveler’s checks can be cashed at most banks, but be aware that you may wait in long lines and pay a commission.


Cash is king in Peru. Make ATM withdrawals at the many machines in the cities, and some in the smaller towns and villages. In general, Peruvians like small denominations — equal to $20 USD or less so they can make change. If you do pay with larger bills, be sure that you count your change to be sure you’re getting the correct amount.

When you pay by cash, especially in US dollars, be ready for the merchant to scrutinize the condition of your bills. Many merchants will reject torn or overly worn bills.

Exchanging money

You have four ways to exchange your money in Peru — banks, street moneychangers, casas de cambio (change houses) and hotels. Banks often have incredibly long lines, but you’ll find street changers in colored smocks with the $ symbol. They offer legitimate money exchange, a fair rate and don’t charge a commission on currency exchange. But changing money in the street comes with its own problems. Be on guard for any shady deals after the exchange and counterfeit bills. Your best bet are the casas de cambio with good exchange rates, short lines and a secure environment. And like with merchants, be sure you have good, clean US dollar bills for all exchanges — licensed money changers won’t take torn or damaged notes.

  • Tip: ATMs dispense $100 notes and it can be hard to find a place to make change. Pay for your big ticket purchases using your $100 notes.

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $$1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
American Express® Gold Card
35,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $350 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
Get a generous $300 in annual travel credits, 3x points on travel and dining, and a 50% bonus on point redemptions with Chase's premier card.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
80,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
With a massive welcome offer for a no-annual-fee card and up to 7x points at Hilton, this is a solid pick for Hilton fans and occasional travelers. Rates & fees
Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.

Compare up to 4 providers

Case study: Amy's experience

Amy profile photo

Amy shopped like a local in Peru

Amy spent six months in South America, she started her trip in Colombia and finished in Peru after seeing Machu Picchu and walking the Inca trail. In Peru she visited Chimbote, Lima, Cusco and Agua Calientes. We interviewed Amy about her experiences with travel money in Peru.

What cards did you take with you to Peru?

Amy took her Charles Schwab bank card and Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®. She says she took the Citibank Plus card because it doesn’t charge an international transaction fee and has no monthly account fee. Most importantly, there’s no international ATM charge from Citi when she made ATM withdrawals. She bought her plane tickets and tour tickets with her Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® because of the bonus miles for spending on travel, along with the interest-free days when she paid her balance in full.

Where were you able to use your cards?

Amy didn’t use her cards for over the counter purchases at all; she used cash the entire time she was in Peru, and almost the entire time she was in South America. She found that high-end retailers, expensive restaurants and hotels were the only places where she could use her cards.

What about ATM withdrawals?

Amy made withdrawals every 10 days or so. She was able to get 700 sols from the machine at a time and she paid seven sols for each withdrawal. The Charles Schwab card doesn’t charge for international ATM withdrawals so the local ATM operator fee was the only charge.

Do you have any travel money tips?

Always try and get lower denominations from ATMs as it can be hard to break large notes. Also, in Agua Calientes, make sure you have enough cash for your trip to Machu Picchu because banks and ATMs are hard to find.

She also said not to be afraid to haggle over prices, especially in traditional markets. Prices start high, with the expectation that you’ll settle on a price that’s acceptable for both of you. It doesn’t hurt to try negotiating prices for hotel and hostel rooms, especially if you plan on straying there for four or five days.

When it comes to cab rides or another kind of service where the price isn’t plainly displayed, be sure you agree on a price before accepting the service. Taxis don’t have meters to measure the mile per dollar, so negotiating a fair price before your ride will save you money in the end. If you think the fare is too high, find another taxi — it’s easier than arguing a high price at the end of your trip.

Our pick for a prepaid travel card
Travelex Money Card

Buying sols in the US

Sols are an exotic currency and you may find it difficult to find a bank or exchange office that can sell you PEN. You will get a far better deal if you wait till you arrive in Peru to purchase sols.


Why you’ll need a combination of travel money options

You will be using cash in Peru. Take a travel card, debit card or credit card that lets you withdraw your money for less from an ATM. Spread your travel budget across a couple of cards so you have access to money in the event of the unexpected.

Cash pickup services in Peru

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$1 Within an hour USD 3.99 3.57 PEN 3,555 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
$0 1 - 2 days USD 1.99 3.516 PEN 3,509 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
$1 Same day USD 8.00 3.507 PEN 3,479 Easily transfer cash to more than 350,000 locations around the world. Show details
$1 3 - 5 days USD 20.00 3.498 PEN 3,428 The biggest name in money transfers can get your funds to friends, family, or businesses in almost every corner of the globe. Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Find cheap travel insurance options for your next trip to Peru

Name Product Trip Cancellation Emergency Medical Expenses Baggage Coverage Trip delay
Allianz Travel OneTrip Emergency Medical Plan
Budget-friendly policy designed for international and domestic travelers who want medical protection. Trip cancellation and trip interruption not included.
Allianz Travel AllTrips Basic Plan
Annual policy that offers affordable protection, but doesn't include trip cancellation or trip interruption.
Travelex Travel Basic
Essential travel coverage — with the option to customize — that can protect the cost of your trip.
Travelex Flight Insure
Protect the cost of your flight and choose the coverage amount that meets your needs — trip delay protection included.
RoamRight Essential Travel Insurance Plan
Basic policy with coverage that includes trip cancellation insurance, tourist health insurance and baggage insurance.

Compare up to 4 providers

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site