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Cash & Currency Exchange

The Indian Rupee | Most shops in India will require payment in the national currency of India known as the rupee. The currency symbol is Rs. During the first week in Kerala, AyurSoma has a cashier in the main office who will exchange your US dollars to rupees. US cash or credit cards are welcome. We find credit cards to be the most convenient means to acquire rupees. Due to limited cash availability, AyurSoma has a Rs.3000 exchange limit per day per guest. As of January 2019, the current exchange rate is Rs.71 to the dollar. A Rs.3000 exchange will generate $42 per day. These rates are subject to change daily.
ATMs | There is no limit on withdrawals from outside ATMs except the limit imposed by your credit card, debit card, or bank. We would recommend you bring $300 in cash to start the trip and use your credit cards for more cash if/when you need it. You can use your credit card in any ATM to withdrawal cash in rupees at the daily exchange rate. There is an ATM outside the AyurSoma gate just a couple blocks away. Its all quite modern. The hotels on the Post Retreat Tour will exchange cash as well. For the most part, cash is very easily accessed.
Cash Needs | The only expenses you will need cash for are: (1) shopping and personal items you buy for yourself, and (2) tips: taxis, rickshaws, your Ayurveda therapists, the AyurSoma restaurant, and room service. Budget roughly $150 for all tips for the entire tour. Most large stores in India will take credit cards. Smaller street shops may not. Most tailors would prefer cash, but may also take cards. Art galleries that sell higher end Hindu statues will always take cards. A little gift boutique outside of a temple will not. Stores in larger cities will likely take cards too. You can see that it’s good to have both.
Using Credit Cards | AyurSoma and the modern hotels on this tour are very experienced with American credit cards. However, newer US credit cards have chips in them that may require PIN codes overseas. Because our card system is changing so rapidly, credit card terminals vary, and each card is different, we suggest you check with your credit card issuer and inquire if a PIN code is required. If so, be sure to create one. Let your card issuer know you will be traveling in India and ask them to adjust your current fraud alerts to allow your purchases from India and any other countries you are traveling to.
WARNING! | On November 8, 2016, the Government of India announced the demonetization of all Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi Series, and replaced these older notes with new Rs.500 and Rs.2000 banknotes.  The government claimed that the action would curtail the blackmarket economy and crack down on the use of counterfeit notes to fund illegal activity and terrorism. Most counterfeit currency involved these two notes. This means that the old Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes are literally worthless now. Many tourists don’t know this and have been known to accept them in currency exchanges and as cash change during purchase transactions. Do not accept these older Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes. It is best to accept Rs.10, Rs.20, Rs.50, Rs.100, and the new Rs.500 and Rs.2000 notes instead. See images below.

Below: old retired banknotes

Below: new banknotes