As I am already mathematically-challenged, I have all but given up any hope of trying to consciously compare the ‘Bolivar fuerte’ to the US dollar. It makes no sense. “Officially,” the rate is about 4.30 bolivares to 1 US dollar, but as a foreigner I have no way of exchanging my money at that rate, I have to go underground (not literally, it was actually out in the open on a sun-soaked plaza) and get bolivares from a Venezuelan citizen. The exchange rate is actually much better, I have no idea why. It is illegal to publish the black market rate, so I won’t dare. Probably illegal to do so while in the country. Maybe when I leave, it won’t matter. But, at this politically interesting time in Venezuela, nothing is worth getting deported over (if you can help it.) Below, is a picture of what some of their banknotes look like and an explanation of who and what are on them. And I’ll possibly throw in a crude exchange rate. Crude, it will have to be, as I am truly challenged (would be considered by most, a slow learner, haha!) with numbers and rates:


50:  Simon Rodriguez, most notably Simon Bolivar’s teacher and mentor.  Spectacled bear, only surviving species of bear native to South America.

20: Luisa Caceres de Arismendi, heroine of the Venezuelan War of Independence.             Hawksbill turtle, critically endangered sea turtle

10: Cacique Guaicaipuro, native (indigenous) Venezuelan chief of the Teques and the Caracas tribes. American Harpy Eagle, almost extinct in South America.

Crude exchange: I was told yesterday to think of 100 bolivar fuertes as $10 usd. So, above, we’re looking at about $5, $2, and $1. I deal in big money, don’t I? I know, I know. I’m big-time.


Leave a Reply