An important part of every trip is getting acquainted with the local currency, in Bogotá, you have many options to exchange money and this article will give you all the information you need.
Knowing everything about the local currency and where to get it is important to plan any trip, how else are you going to buy all the great food you want to eat in Bogotá? Or the handcrafts? Or move in the city to get to all the amazing places Bogotá has to offer? Don`t worry we have that covered for you. Read this article and you will be ready to enjoy this city.
The Colombian peso (Peso Colombiano) is the monetary unit in the Republic of Colombia. Its formal abbreviation is COP. The official rate, called TRM (Tasa Representativa de Mercado), is defined by the National Bank and normally is around 1 USD= 2,900 COP or 1 EUR= 3,400 COP. If you want daily information about the exchange rate you can check https://dolar.wilkinsonpc.com.co/divisas/dolar.html
You can use coins and bills. The coins are used less because they are of little value, so normally people use them as a way to save money in their piggy banks and you could do that too! The smallest coin is 50 COP and the one with the highest value is 1,000 COP. For the bills, the smallest is 1,000 COP and the biggest is 50,000 COP (There are 100,000 COP bills but they are not seen or used very often)
Where to exchange money
There are several options to exchange money for your trip: you can exchange it in your country of origin, which normally, to get Colombian pesos is not easy, you can exchange during your visit in exchange houses (casas de cambio) or simply by withdrawing money in ATMs, but sometimes the rate at the banks can be pretty high. Exchanging money at the hotel is common in some places, but they also normally charge you a higher rate, so, in Bogotá, we recommend going to an exchange house.
In Bogotá, you will find several money exchange houses across the city. The most common places to exchange money are obviously airports (Tips for your arrival to El Dorado airport in Bogotá), but you can find better exchange rates outside the airport, so if you need some money when you arrive, it may be better to exchange a small amount in the airport and then go to an exchange house with a better rate. Normally, at exchange houses, the rate can be a little lower than the official one (TRM), so it’s a better deal.
You can find exchange houses in shopping malls (Shopping malls in Bogotá) or on the street in specific areas of the city.
Some touristic and good areas to exchange your money are:
In Chapinero you can go to a shopping mall called Avenida Chile (com), which is at Calle 72 and Carrera 11. Here you will find more than one option, so you can check the rates at all of them and go for the best one! This is a really good place, you normally can find good rates and it’s secure.
In this area, you can also exchange money at the shopping mall Centro Comercial Andino. Here you have one exchange house called New York Money (newyorkmoney.com.co) that normally also has good rates.Parque de la 93:
Close to the “Parque de la 93”, a place you will probably visit for its restaurants and bars, there is a shopping mall called Centro 93 (https://centro93.com/2017/). Here, like in Avenida Chile, you have some options, and good rates, so you can check all of them and decide.
A little further north, at Calle 27 and Carrera 15, there is a very large shopping center called Unicentro, which is a very good place to shop, and also to exchange money! Inside the mall you can find exchange houses, but also around and in front of the mall on Carrera 15, you have other options with good rates. So because of the competition, it is also a good place to exchange your money. You can read Here’s why I like Unicentro for further information.
Near Unicentro, at calle 116 and carrera 7, there is an area called Usaquén. This is a place you for sure want to visit because it’s full of restaurants and bars (The best 10 restaurants in Usaquén), and has a nice colonial square that you do not want to miss. Here you will find another shopping mall with some exchange house, This mall is called Hacienda Santa Barbara (Best Neighborhoods in Bogotá: Santa Bárbara) and it was formerly a colonial hacienda, so it a pretty interesting place too.
Center of the city:
And of course, in the center of the city, you will also find places to exchange your money, the good ones are located in the “eje ambiental”, or in a place called “las aguas” (Bogotá Basics for Transportation), near carrera 7, University Rosario (How to ge a Colombian Student Visa), or Banco de la República (banrep.gov.co/). You have to be careful because in this area there are a lot of little exchange houses that sometimes are working outside the law, so it is better to really check your options and select the best rate but also make sure it is a reliable place.
Now, it is important that you know that you have to take some security precautions when you are exchanging your money like you would do in any other city when handling money. You must be aware of the people around you and try not to attract much attention, there may be people checking to see who is exchanging money.
Also, for your safety and peace of mind, it is best that you always ask for the transaction invoice and make sure you count the money inside the exchange place and in front of the person who gave it to you, just in case there is an error.
In order to not be fooled, it is important to know the language a little, so if you do not know Spanish you might be interested in reading our article “Basics in Spanish that you must know to get around Bogotá” or visit the best institute to learn Spanish in Bogotá: www.wheeinstitute.com
Money can’t buy happiness (?)
In general, Bogotá is not an expensive city when you bring foreign currency, because you can find really good exchange rates, so you will probably end up really satisfied with the deals in the exchange houses.
Now, It`s true money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy empanadas, patacones, arepas (Foods you must try in Bogota), it can take you to Monserrate, to Plaza Bolívar, to Zona Rosa (Places to visit in Bogotá) it can let you try Aguardiente (Drinks you must try in Bogota), it can pay for all the traditional desserts you will want to try, and thousands of other possibilities you will have in this incredible city! So come to our website and start planning what you are going to do with your Colombian pesos!