Money and Costs
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The Venezuelan currency is the Bolívar (Bs). Locals sometimes call it the 'Bolo'. It can be exported and imported in unlimited quantities. You can buy Bolívares before coming to Venezuela, but it can take time for them to be ordered and you will get a better exchange rate in Venezuela.
The US$ is the most commonly accepted foreign currency in Venezuela, so it is recommended to carry cash and traveller's cheques in US$. At present, banks do not change cheques or foreign currency, and tourists have to go to exchange offices. As these are mostly found in larger cities and airports, it is wise to obtain sufficient Bolívares before taking a trip to the interior.
Credit cards are widely accepted, but a surcharge of up to 10% is often applied. Most commonly accepted are MasterCard/Eurocard, American Express and Visa. You can also use a credit card to withdraw money from automatic cash machines, which usually dispense up to 100,000 Bs per day. If you require more, you will have to make a transaction over the counter. Venezuelan banks can get very crowded so allow at least 2 hours for this.
Accommodation: Prices range depending on whether you are stringing up a hammock or staying in lavish hotels. A basic double room with bathroom will generally cost between US$15 - 30 per night. Air-conditioned rooms are more expensive.
Food: A decent meal in a local restaurant will cost between US$7 - 20.
Drinks: Beer and soft drinks cost around 50c (per 222ml bottle). Spirits are also cheap and a liter bottle of rum is about US$3.5. Nightclubs: These vary. Some are free, others may charge up to US$10. Sometimes drinks are included.
Cinemas: US$2-10, depending on size and quality.
Transport: national buses work out at roughly US$2 per hour's journey. Local bus rides are cheap and cost around 50c.
The prices quoted above are average figures, so you can spend considerably less if you look around for cheap places. Prices rise at Christmas time and holidays.
There are only a few discounts for foreign students or young people. Sometimes you can get a 10% discount when paying in cash - always ask.
A thrifty backpacker can live adequately on a daily budget of US$18 -30. This would probably include basic accommodation, one decent meal, drinks, snacks and the odd bus ride.
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