Due to the constant high inflation rate that has afflicted Argentina for several years, Argentines are forced to look for alternatives when saving. According to official data, and just as an example of what has been happening in recent years, annual inflation in 2016 was 40%, in 2017 was 25%, in 2018 was 48%, in 2019 it was 54%; and the most recent corresponding to the year 2020 was 36%. Taking into account this annual series, and given the situation in which our Country finds itself today, everything indicates that inflation in 2021 will be even higher. It is for this reason that the traveler who arrives in Argentina today with foreign currency will find the local prices very cheap. Argentina would be experiencing a great international tourist boom at this time, if it were not for the situation of closed borders maintained by the National Government due to the pandemic. But as soon as the trips can be resumed, I recommend that you prepare your bags and come visit this wonderful country with very favorable prices for you.
However, due to the aforementioned very high inflation in Argentina, Argentines must look for other alternatives to save, since it is impossible to save in our national currency, the peso, which loses value daily. Due to historical circumstances, since the 1960s, Argentines have become accustomed to saving in US currency; Argentina is known to be one of the countries with the largest dollar reserves in the world. But these dollars are in private hands; meanwhile, in the badly administered National Government dollars are scarce. Due to the lack of dollars in the government coffers, the decision to install a monthly quota for the purchase of dollars has long been taken.
I made this brief introduction so that you understand the complicated situation that we live in Argentina in regards to the issue of foreign currency exchange; and that it does not take you unexpectedly when you arrive at the airport. Today the US dollar has different prices in our country. When your flight lands at the Ezeiza International Airport, the first option you will see there to exchange money is the Banco de la Nación Argentina (Argentine National Bank), the official bank of the Argentine Government. If you want to exchange your dollars there, they will pay you for your dollars as of today (February 2021) 86 argentine pesos for each dollar you change; this is the value of the so-called OFFICIAL dollar. But, when wanting to buy back those same dollars, the Argentine Government will ask you to pay 152 pesos for each dollar. As you can see, the difference between buying and selling is huge.
Now, keep in mind that Argentines who want to buy dollars have a monthly quota of 200 dollars per person. And, in the event that we want to buy more quantity, we must resort to alternative purchase mechanisms. In this alternative market, where dollars can be bought and sold between individuals without government intervention, the exchange value of the dollar as of today (February 2021) revolves around 152 Argentine pesos for every dollar you sell. This alternative market is known by different names, such as the LIBRE (free) dollar or, the more widespread name, the BLUE dollar.
The difference today between selling dollars at the OFFICIAL rate or at the BLUE rate is huge. This is the result of a poorly managed economy over decades, which we all hope will change at some point.
I hope this information helps you to understand the different types of exchange that you will find upon your arrival in Buenos Aires and evaluate which exchange is the most convenient for you, although I already think I know the answer 😉
Price of 1 dollar (USD) February 2021
When you sell dollars
When you buy dollars
Diego – Buenos Aires 4U
January 27, 2021
Updated February 2021