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Banks in Bolivia

Banks and ATMs are plentiful in large Bolivian cities and towns like La Paz and Santa Cruz and you shouldn't have a problem finding banks in smaller towns as well. Some banks to look for while traveling through Bolivia include Banco Nacional de Bolivia, Banco Mercantil, Banco de Santa Cruz and Prodem. These banks and ATMs usually dispense bolivianos in 50 and 100 notes and sometimes even US dollars. Most Visa, Plus, Cirrus and Master Cards are accepted, though many Europeans have reported trouble using their cards. American Express cards aren't generally accepted. Make sure to notify your bank or credit card company before leaving the country so they allow access to your funds from overseas. 


Credit and debit cards aren't accepted for many actual transactions in typical restaurants and stores and in smaller towns they're pretty much useless. Make sure to have enough cash on you, preferably small bills as large bills can be next to impossible to break. After taking money from an ATM or when you cash in Traveler's Checks, it is worthwhile to go into a bank and break the larger bills into smaller ones. If you have US dollars, exchanging them for bolivianos is easy at one of the many casas de cambio (money changers) in and around cities and towns. Be aware of counterfeit notes and rip-offs, however, as these businesses are less regulated then banks and ATMs. 


Most banks in Bolivia have normal business hours, usually opening at 8:30am and closing at 4pm.  Most offices close between noon and 2pm for lunch, and few are open on the weekends. 

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Bolivia: Money and Money and Costs.

10 Dec 2009

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