Currency exchange in Medellin and the rest of Colombia still remains to be one of the most frequently asked questions for new travelers. If you are not well-informed, you might end up paying for steep exchange rates. Credit and debit cards are not always accepted in local shops so you will really need cash when traveling. What really is the best place to do a currency exchange where you can save the most? Should you exchange pesos in your country or wait until you are in Colombia? Keep reading to find out what expats and travelers recommend.
This is still the most recommendedway of getting the most out of your currency. However, you have to be careful as different banks will have different transaction and exchange fees. You can check out the list of fees here to see which one helps you save the most depending on your bank. Do not use ATMs and money exchange at the airports if you can avoid it! If you really need to, just withdraw enough money to pay for your ride to the city. Also, make sure you inform your bank before traveling to avoid getting blocked.
If you are hiring a private driver, you can wait until you are in Medellin and use the ATMs there for currency exchange. Do not forget to check the transaction and exchange fees to know the best ATMs for withdrawing money.
An expat who was tired of the high exchange rates and fees of banks created a group for people to exchange money at market rates. You can post the currency you need in the group and discuss with someone who is willing to do an exchange. The group strictly follows the market rate, only giving a 100 COP flux from the rate of the day. You can join the group here.
Exchange in Your Home Country
Exchange your currency for Colombian pesos at home if at all possible. It has been more difficult to find Colombian pesos outside of the country recently because of certain changes in their laws. If you’re lucky though, bringing Colombian pesos with you is a much better option than having your dollars, euros, or pounds exchanged in Colombia.
Although the best and most convenient option will still be ATMs, the exchange rates here is better than most in Medellin. You can check out their rates here.
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Using your debit/credit card
Debit and credit cards are widely accepted in major shops and establishments. Consider this when exchanging your currency for Colombian pesos. Many local shops will not accept cards though so make sure to still have cash ready. You wouldn’t want to not be able to tip your guide when you take a free Columna 13 graffiti tour!
Avoid: Airports and Hotels
Need we say more? I think you and I know these places have the highest exchange rates.
What’s your most preferred way to exchange currency? Do you know money exchange with consistently good rates? Let us know in the comments!