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Money in Colombia

The official currency of Colombia is the peso (abbreviated COP). There are 50, 100 and 500 peso coins; the 10 and 20 pesos coins are rarely used now. Bills come in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 COP. The symbol used before prices is: $.Even though most people travel only with a bank card, a variety of money options should be employed.


Carry some U.S. cash in perfect condition for changing at border crossings or for areas where ATMs may not be available. Casas de cambio (exchange houses) in major cities will change euros. Currency of other countries is difficult to change into pesos anywhere.


ATMS are common, connected with both Latin American and international networks (redes), including Cirrus and Plus. ATH (A Todo Hora) 24-hour cash machines usually give better rates and have a higher daily withdrawal limit. Davienda is said to have the highest withdrawal limit.

Credit Cards

High-end businesses accept credit cards. Mastercard and Visa are the most common; some also take Diners or American Express. Many bank ATMs take credit cards as well. Visa cash advances can be obtained at Banco de Bogotá and Banco Popular.

Travelers Checks

Bancolombia and some branches of Banco Santander exchange U.S. dollar or euro American Express travelers checks. Go prepared with a photocopy of the front page and entry stamp of your passport. You will also have to fill out a form and give your right index finger print. Few casas de cambio and businesses accept travelers checks. Bancolombia is American Express' representative in Colombia for financial matters.

Wiring Money

Some travelers find they need to have folks back home wire money to them through Western Union (URL: or MoneyGram (URL: You receive it in COP, though you can buy U.S. dollars, if they are available. Branches of money wiring services at banks typically handle transactions only for Colombians. Foreigners will have to go to Giros y Finanzas (URL: for Western Union wires andCambiamos (URL: for MoneyGram. Check the websites for office locations.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Colombia: Costs in Colombia, Buenaventura Services, Money, Nuqui Services, Quibdó Services and Services.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

28 Sep 2011

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