Notes from Nicaragua #3: Where do you get the best rate?
When changing dollars to cordobas, there is quite a spread on the exchange rates depending on where you change the money.
I have found that higher-end retailers such as the La Colonia supermarket chain and Lugo's hardware in Managua always give me the best rate.
Next to that are mid-range retailers, such as Curacao and Gallo más Gallo (and here in Jinotepe, supermarcado Santiago).
Pali and La Union supermarkets are last in line in terms of rates from retailers (no surprise).
After that are the money-changers on the street. Now that I have found a cambista who is scrupulously honest, I make a point of always changing money with him when I do street transactions. Now that he knows I am a regular customer, he often gives me a break when I am changing more than $100.
There used to be quite a large spread between the rate which banks gave you and the rate paid by guys on the street. That's no longer the case, at least not in Jinotepe. Last week on a day when the street-changers were paying 23 cordobas per dollar, Bancentro gave me 22.93.
Claro used to give me the best rate in town, but these days where I live, if you pay Claro with dollars, they give you the change in U.S. currency, including coins.
Where do you go when you want to get the best rate? Do you have tips you can share about negotiating with money-changers?