Saturday, March 26, 2011

Huge piles of cash? Priceless...

Time to pay the rent...

The Chilean economy is very modern, and has China-like growth figures, so much so that they're trying to slow it down.  You can buy nearly anything here, though size 12 shoes are a bit hard to come by.  That's why it's been surprising to find out that credit cards are often not accepted here.  Every hostel and restaurant has the Visa and MasterCard sign in the window, but they make a distinction here between domestic cards issued by Chilean banks, and 'international' cards.  The latter are often not accepted, and the former are generally not available for foreigners.  Several hostel owners have told us that they don't accept international cards due to big transaction fees.

So, we almost always pay cash for everything, even for a week's rent in a hostel, which is hundreds of dollars.  And with an exchange rate hovering just below 500 pesos per US dollar, we are often carrying around hundreds of thousands of pesos.  It's a strange feeling, but like a lot of aspects of Chilean life, we're starting to get used to it.

Speaking of tough adjustments, the kids just finished their 3rd week of school.  Hopefully they'll write soon about their experiences.

- Dan


  1. Hi Dan:
    That is crazy since I was there this past September and I was able to use my credit card or debit card everywhere in Santiago maybe in Valparaiso is different, I would be careful since carrying all that money. Good luck and hope you have a good impression of our country and your children should be proud of themselves by living in a different country and attending school I think it is great I wish I could do the same and take my two children 9 and 13 to experience what your children are experiencing.

  2. Dear Theo,
    Hello from your Sunday School class!! We miss you! Are you having a good time in Chile? I hope you are making new friends and learning lots of Spanish.
    Here the snow is finally starting to melt and it is beginning to feel like spring.
    Lots of love,

    Andrew—how are you doing
    Henry—how are you doing in Chile? Your friend Henry
    Amalie-hi theo! Anya-hi theo

    We had a great class today - we had a bake sale and raised money to give to the Simpson Shelter for homeless people. It was really fun and we felt good doing something to help others.
    We miss you Theo and can't wait to see you next year!
    Your friends in Second Grade at 11:15 Sunday School

  3. Dan and Laura,

    Does the Chilean central bank or treasury peg the value of the peso to the US Dollar or to some other currency or commodity, or does the peso's value fluctuate on international currency exchanges? I have been thinking of divesting myself of all traditional investments and putting everything in artichokes, but would Chilean peso be a better bet?

    Dan Rogers

  4. Thanks for writing everyone! @Pepi - Yes, in Santiago we did pay for almost everything with a credit card. But everywhere else -- Valpo, Puerto Varas, Chiloé, Pucón -- they don't like them much. Strange. @Dan - No, the peso floats around a lot vs. the dollar. Lately it's been doing well, but I'd stick with artichokes.

  5. Hi Dan,

    You all look like you are having a great time! It's fun reading about your stay - thanks for keeping us up to date! So cool that you are doing this!