The currency of Argentina is the peso, money that has a rocky history but has recently solidified to make it easy to use for visitors. The current government of Argentina strives to keep the Argentine Peso set in a value of between 2.90 to 3.10 pesos per U.S. dollar, in order to maintain the competitiveness of the country’s exports. This roughly 3:1 ratio of the Argentine Peso to the US Dollar makes converting from one currency to another fairly simple.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ARGENTINE PESO
The first currency used in Argentina was generally Spanish 8 reales, the famed “pieces of eight” from pirate tales. When Argentina won her freedom she started minting her own coins: reales, soles and escudos. Overtime, the reales were dropped, soles became known as their popular name “pesos” while escudos became “centavos.”
Bad economies and persistent inflation caused the pesos to be replaced numerous times with newer versions, given names such as Peso Fuerte, Peso Ley and in the later 1900s the Austral. The current peso, officially named the Peso Convertible, replaced the old Australs in 1992 at a rate of 1 Peso Convertible = 10,000 Australs. Originally, the current peso was pegged to the US Dollar at a 1:1 ratio. However, after another financial crisis in 2001, the fixed exchange rate was abandoned and the value of the peso was allowed to float. The current government has been fairly successful in keeping the value of the peso about 3:1 to the US Dollar.
USING THE ARGENTINE PESO
People new to Argentina can be confused over pesos. In Argentina the symbol used to denote a peso is $ , easily mistaken to the unitiated for process in dollars. Argentines normally use any of the following symbols: U$D, US$, U$, U$S, or U$A to indicate US Dollars. There are some businesses, near heavy tourist areas, that may list their prices in US dollars. If not sure it is best to assume that the prices are in Argentine Pesos, or better yet, ask!
There are 100 centavos to one peso, with 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavo coins in use as well as a popular 1 peso coin. There are also paper notes in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 , 100 and greater peso denominations. The 50 and 100 peso notes are generally used reluctantly, and finding businesses who can change notes of that size can sometimes be a problem, and most taxis and street vendors may have problems changing a 20 peso note. The 1 peso coin is much preferred over the 1 peso note.
Again, the easy convertibility of the Argentine Peso makes it easy to use when traveling, with small chance of getting cheated because you don’t know how much something costs, and in Argentina, there are lots of things: great beef and wine and much more, to spend it on.