Tuesday, December 30, 2014

DIY Fly Fishing Patagonia, Argentina: US Dollars and Pesos Blue

How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine and type in key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, Pesos, Fy Rods, Flies, Best Months, etc.  The search engine is located on the right side, just below the weather.  FYI, there are over 100 post about fishing Patagonia...the information you are looking for, is probably on this blog.  Thanks.

In Junin de los Andes, I work with anglers varying in age, gender and financial health.  Regardless of these labels, my job as a host is to quickly share with them the knowledge that I have gained over the past 16 years, while traveling and fishing Patagonia.  This may seem simple and straight forward, but it's not.  Why?  I have a very short amount of time to teach people the Do's and Don'ts of traveling/fishing in Patagonia.  Also, when compared to the USA or other countries, I am giving clients life lessons that are unconventional and for the average person, highly questionable (I get some weird looks).  The sooner you learn that this is Argentina and normalcy is the un-normalcy, the better your travels and fishing will be.  Take for example, the use of your dollars, ATM and credit cards.

You can do as you please, but my strongest recommendation is to bring as much USA dollars as you are comfortable traveling with (per USA laws you can leave America with $10,000 cash).  In other words, use your ATM and credit card only as back-up or for emergencies.  I make this recommendation to future clients and I sense that some of them think I am trying to set them up for the scam/pinch/theft, etc.  This makes me laugh and is far from the truth.  Here's why:

  • Visit this website http://www.dolarblue.net/ to see the current official and 'blue' exchange rate. At the top of the page the 'blue' rate is posted.  If you scroll down the page, you'll find the official bank rate. You should notice a HUGE difference between the official bank rate and the 'blue' rate.  
  • If you use your ATM card your losing up to 40% of the value of your dollar, when compared to the 'blue' rate.
  • If you use your credit card, the same story applies, but you may be dinged international banking fees.
  • Exchanging dollars for pesos 'blue' is perfectly legal and is done throughout the country.  
  • The best locations to obtain the highest pesos 'blue' rate is Buenos Aires (BsAs).  Avenida Florida, a well know tourist/shopping trap, has multiple people willing to exchange dollars. These people can spot you a mile away, so don't be alarmed if they approach you; just don't follow anyone down a dark alley.  Do your homework before asking, "Qual es el cambio para peso blue?"  Ask two or three people and take the highest. 
  • The other best location is in Bariloche, on Avenida Mitre.  This is another tourist street, lined with shops, restaurants and bars. The rate here may be slightly less than the rate posted on-line or in BsAs. Again, a number of people will approach you in the street and may ask you to enter a small store.  I favor the store that sells ladies clothing and hats.
  • For anglers and travelers visiting San Martin de Los Andes, you'll want to visit a small candle shop called La Araucaria, located on 845 Belgrano.  The rates here will be better than Junin de los Andes, but perhaps slightly less than BsAs or the website that I have shared.
  • Be sure to present new, clean, unmarked $100 USA bills.  Bills lower than $50 are accepted, but your rate drops significantly.

As of this posting, in BsAs, a Benjamin will get you $1,400 pesos 'blue.'  Compare this to the official rate, at $850 pesos. Take Away Message = Cash is KING.
The tourism office in Junin de los Andes will gladly offer you pesos 'blue.'  The current rate, as of this posting, is $11.50.  The take away message = if your in BsAs or Bariloche, get more pesos 'blue.'

The ATM/bank, located in Junin de los Andes.  During high tourist season, there always seems to be a line here and the wait can be up to 30 minutes.

Final Word

So, why is a guide/outfitter (First Cast) sharing information about the Argentine Peso?  I am supposed to be slinging poetic prose and value added statements; all designed to capture your attention and convince you to work with us.  More importantly, why don't lodges or other guides share this information? Well, let's summarize reality/facts and do some math.

  • If you fish with us, compared to lodges and other outfitters, you'll save up to 50%. How is this possible?  The answer is quite simple; lodges and local outfitters base their business model entirely upon the US dollar.
  • Our platform is built upon the peso 'blue' and the US dollar.  This is how we provide what the industry calls real VALUE, not perceived value.

Folks, it's simple math, all based on facts (dollar vs. peso blue).  That being said, I am convinced that we do offer the best value in all of Patagonia.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you in Patagonia.

As always, keeping it real,