Paying for accommodation in Argentina

A post about paying for accommodation in Argentina? ‘How fascinating’ I hear you say……well it’s kind of a pain because of the following:

– costs here are not super cheap – eg. it’s around $45 AUD for a hostel, $55 AUD for a cheap hotel, and $70 AUD for a nice hotel.

– hardly anywhere will take a credit card. If they do, they add 10% to the bill… therefore you need to pay with cash all the time

– when you book through any websites, the prices are often listed without the sales tax, which is 21%. There is a law that says if you are foreign and pay with a credit card then you don’t have to pay the tax – hence they don’t show it on the website. But in practice nobody takes credit cards, and even those that do still charge the 21% (it’s a new regulation apparently and nobody knows or cares about it – but the hotel/hostel websites print it all over their booking materials)

– inflation is around 40%, so even though prices are shown in ARS (Argentine peso), when you book they fix the price in US dollars – because of course in 6 months time the price will have had to have gone up in ARS by 20%, and so they can’t afford to keep to ARS prices, so they fix it in US dollars at the time of booking. So between the Sales tax and the US dollar rate you never really know what it’s going to cost when you get there.

– but anyway, the above doesn’t matter too much, as you don’t have to book in advance, and you can work out roughly what it will cost…

– BUT the maximum withdrawal from an ATM is approx $150 AUD

– every time you use an ATM you get charged around $8 AUD.

– the largest bank note until recently was $100 ARS, which is just less then $8 AUD. ATMs seem to only have these $100 ARS notes ($500 ARS notes do exist – but we have had them only once from an ATM)

– ATMs run out of money a lot as they can’t fit a lot in them (because they are full of $100 ARS notes). There are usually big queues at the ATMS – especially in the morning. The ATMs will let you do two consecutive withdrawals, so that’s what everyone seems to do – but of course you get charged twice 🙁

So what this means in practice….is that if you want to pay for 7 nights in a cheap hotel, then you need to: go to the ATM 3 times (so plan ahead, only 2 times allowed in one day), and then carry with you a massive wad of 50 banknotes to give to the hotel when you arrive….. (and pay $24 AUD in ATM fees…)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, only making economic commentary 🙂

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