Venezuela

MONEY

monedad de venezuela click on the image to enlarge
Venezuela's currency is the bolívar. Bills come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000 and 20,000; coins are of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 bolívares. Getting change can be difficult, especially in smaller towns, so try to break your 20,000 bills when you get a chance.

Bank hours are 8.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday, although many offer 24-hour access to ATM machines, which can be problematic, depending upon your card type. Most banks advertise that they are on the cirrus and maestro systems, but still may not accept your card. The two most reliable are CorpBanca and Banco Mercantil, both found in most sizeable towns.

Cashing travellers' cheques can be more difficult, and cheques other than American Express are often not accepted. CorpBanca does not charge commission, but its queues are often unbearable and some branches have bizarre requirements such as for fingerprints. Usually it is best to go to exchange houses, most of which accept travellers' cheques but at varying rates and commission levels – always ask before exchanging. Italcambio, found in most urban centres, is reliable and does not charge a commission for exchanging American Express travellers' cheques.
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