Originally Posted by doctorsteve
As far as the exchange rate, that really varies. It's anywhere from 4 Bolivars to 1 dollar at the airport, up to 6-7 to 1 from the guy that drove us from the airport. He said the airport had the worst exchange.
I've done a little research, and it looks like the currency was devalued this month due to the government changing their monetary policy. It looks like the official rate is currently around 4.3:1 and the black market rate is around 9:1
I assume that the mainland black market would give a better rate than on the island. You would thus obviously benefit on things priced in Bolivars if you converted before getting there.
The question then goes to paying for things you see advertised in dollars, i.e., hotels, guides, etc. Do they only accept dollars? If you wanted to pay for these things in Bolivars, what exchange rate do they use? The official or black market rate? If they use something close to the bank rate, you're ahead again.
It presents the odd scenario of converting dollars to Bolivars on the black market (at say 1:9), then going to the bank and converting back (at the official rate of 4.3:1). Double your money each cycle. Repeat often enough and you're a millionaire. I'm sure there must be some obstacle to this.
EDIT: After further research, it looks like it is basically impossible to buy dollars with Bolivars at the official rate. I'm guessing that places with prices in dollars probably either require you to pay in dollars, or charge you the black market rate if you want to pay in Bolivars.
A relevant question is: are most prices on Los Roques set in dollars?