Exchange Rate From Soles to Dollars

Man…when I first came to Peru I remember the exchange rate being S/. 3.75 for $1. I used to tell people to think of a Sol as a quarter just to give them a reference point in comprehending the values of things.  Now, as you can see, the rate has dropped an entire Sol in just a ten year period.  This fluctuates from time to time, and generally I think there is a bit of an effort to “fix” the rate at about S/. 3 for $1, but still!  Before you know it, it’s going to be a one to one deal and Americans aren’t going to be able to head overseas and buy whatever they want (tongue in cheek).

Still, my meager complaints about the economy have nothing on some of the old timers who I have met.  There are dudes who have been living in Peru on tourist visas for 30 years, and if you run into them they’ll tell you how the exchange rate was S/. 17 to $1 when they first came here.  However, thirty years ago it wasn’t the Nuevo Sol, just the good old Sol which got destroyed by Alan Garcia in his first government and was replaced by the Inti and then the Nuevo Sol.
Somebody tell me, is there a country that still exists where you can go and get a 17 to 1 exchange rate on your money?
I guess this is the problem with the global economy, it equalizes the world somewhat and doesn’t give us these places where you can go and just get an absolutely ridiculous return on your money.
In all honesty, you’re doing pretty good coming to Peru and getting your 3 to 1, especially because the buying power of a Sol in Peru is about the equivalent of the buying power of a dollar in the US (some things are higher and some things are lower, but I’d say that’s a fairly accurate statement for the overall).  The bottom line is that moving to Peru is a quick and easy way to triple your money.
Still, I’d like to see that rate rise back up to the S/. 3.4 to $1 range…but I don’t know if it’s going to happen again.
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1 Comment

  1. Gordon Sutcliffe

    You can get 362 to 1 against the Zimbabwean dollar, if you feel so inclined.

    The 1 to 1 buying power applies mainly to food, utility bills, rent/property, and labour. Flights are pretty expensive (Lima-Iquitos is about $150, while you can go from London to Madrid for half that), electronics is more expensive, baby stuff is crazy (the tins of milk powder cost between 60 and 100 soles; in the UK they cost (equivalent) about 35 soles, and I had a bottle warmer imported for $20 after seeing the same model at a crazy price of $100 in Plaza Vea); a decent spot at a concerts is about $2-300 (about $80 in the UK), a SatNav costs about $450 here (about $120-150 in the UK); going to a half-decent school by international standards costs $5000 a year upwards (free in the UK); brand-name toys cost about twice as much; and apparently Peru has the most expensive mobile phones in South America; if you insist on original DVDs, then that costs twice as much as in developed countries too, and so on and so forth.

    Also, if you find items that seem extremely cheap, it's probably because they're Chinese and will break in about a week, two weeks if you're lucky. No exaggeration.

    Another thing, if you're in a job where time equals money (i.e. self-employed), then the amount of time you spend in queues and being batted around from window to window for what seems like hours in the ridiculously bureaucratic offices here, will cost you too.

    So if anybody's coming to Peru because they think it's cheap. Beware!

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