Actually, this is not Florida Street but the birthplace of the Tango called El Plato. I was too scared to look suspicious on Florida Street. 

Actually, this is not Florida Street but the birthplace of the Tango called El Plato. I was too scared to look suspicious on Florida Street. 

FLORIDA STREET, BUENOS AIRES

Everyone knows that Argentina has a standard exchange rate and a "BLACK MARKET" or "BLUE DOLLAR" exchange rate. Typically, if you go to your local bank or currency exchange place (PLEASE DON'T EVER GO TO A CURRENCY EXCHANGE PLACE BTW) you'll find that you get approximately $1USD to $8Pesos. BUT, because of inflation and the US dollar being so strong, local Argentineans actually prefer American dollars. The worth is higher. You'll find a lot of the higher end restaurants in Palermo, Recoleta and the more touristy areas offer exchange rates and accept USD. Often they'll say what rate they are exchanging at the bottom of the menu.

So knowing this, there is a bit of a fishy option to really get your money's worth. You can head on down to Florida Street (ask anyone, they will know) and you will most definitely find men standing in the street saying, "Cambio, Cambio". Or "Change". 

Chat with these men, and they'll haggle exchange rates with you. They mostly all speak great english and will give you a rate. I got $12Pesos to the US dollar when I was there, but you can get 12.3, or 13 more or less depending on the fluctuation. FYI: They only prefer crisp new $50 or $100 bills. You will get a less rate with $20's. So know that. 

For my experience, I was with Melissa and Jen and I talked to 2 or 3 different guys in the street before settling on one who gave me the best rate. Also, the street is not sketchy at all. It's a super crowded, "Financial District" esq street with plenty of people, stores etc...

Our guy led us into an office building PAST AN ACTUAL EXCHANGE PLACE and into the back of a shop. If that's not ballsy, I don't know what is.  I won't lie - that was ballsy. And while I was definitely sketched out I was comforted by the fact that when push comes to shove, literally,  I would just shove my two friends into the would be attacker and RUN, saving myself in the process. It would be a worthy sacrifice. (sorry melissa and jen)

Once we got into the room , there was a little woman in front of a little cash box, and 3 other friendly guys. Honestly, we were very relieved to see the woman and everyone was really friendly and chatty. They answered all our questions, let us check the money 15x, with markers and knowing the 3 signs to see a counterfeit bill. In the end, our guy Jaime even gave us a BUSINESS CARD. It was the most legitimate illegitimate business transaction I'd ever been a part of. 

Now there's no way I can guarantee that it's completely safe, but from my own personal experience and many others it ended up being fine. I definitely recommend being safe + using your head. Don't go alone. Don't bring too much cash. If it doesn't feel right - then don't do it. Trust your gut. And definitely don't say that I recommended it! 

 

 

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