Peru's currency is the Nuevo Sol or Soles (S/.). One Nuevo Sol is broken down into 100 céntimos (cents). Coins are used for 5,10,20, and 50 centimos and 1,2, and 5 Soles. Paper bills are circulating for 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Soles.
The American Dollar is accepted in the majority of commercial locals, restaurants, and service stations along the way, though you will likely lose more value than if you were to exchange for local currency at a bank or money changer. There are Foreign Exchange Offices that use all kinds of currency, especially with American Dollars and Euros. It is advisable to check all monies for authenticity upon receiving.
Some restaurants, hotels and establishments accept Credit Cards: Visa, Masterd Card, Diners and American Express. The use of Travelers Checks is limited because few banks and hotels accept them; ask before use to know if they are accepted.
Prices quoted to you or you see posted already include taxes. Negotiating price can often save you some money at the shops and markets. Tipping is not necessary in most restaraunts (is typical for some fancier locations) or for taxis. It is customary to tip tour guides $5-$10 (obviously can be adjusted based on service).
- Yahoo converter- Basic currency converter
- Coinmill.com- See how the Peruvian Sol measures to various currencies at once
Tips for handling money
Petty theft can be common, especially in crowded areas. It is best to follow standard precautions for international travel. Some tips:
- When you leave to go out for the day, only take what money you will need.
- You may want to keep money in different pockets, and it's not recommended to keep a wallet in your back pocket.
- Small coins and bills are more useful. Keep this in mind when changing money. Many places can't provide change for the larger S/. bills (50,100,200) on small items. $100 U.S. bills are not generally accepted either. Taxis often only accept the smaller coins.
- Use only secured ATMs, preferably inside a bank or building
- Never flash your cash
- Don't accept torn or damaged bills when changing money, they can be difficult to use elsewhere.
- Don't bring torn or damaged bills to exchange, as banks won't accept them. Some money changers may accept them, but tack on a special fee.
Lima is not overly dangerous in the perspective of how large a city it is, but keep in mind the average monthly wage is around $200-$300, so if you are advertising you are carrying cash, people may see an opportunity.
Check for Counterfeiting
False bills and coins are somewhat common in Peru, and it best to check them out before accepting changed money, especially from the street vendors. Banks are generally ok since all the tellers know what to look for. Overly wrinkled or worn bills should be avoided regardless. Check all bills for the plastic strip and hidden watermark visible when held to light. Coins are more difficult to detect, just be wary of any coins that look damaged or worn off. Don't be shy about checking or asking for a different bill, it is common practice.