martes, 28 de noviembre de 2017

Do not use banks to exchange currency

A few travellers have used banks to change money. This is a mistake as the banks will buy your foreign currency at a much lower state rate but will never sell you hard currency at that rate if you are left with the fast devaluing Iranian Rial, in fact the banks never sell hard currencies to anyone let alone foreigners so you lose out if you go to a bank! There are official bureau de changes where you can sell ( and only sometimes buy) your currency at the market rate. You can find them in most city centers as well as international airports. You do not need Iranian Rials to enter Iran, USD and Euros are readily exchangeable in Iran.

Update September 2018
The currency situation is very unstable at the moment. The US dollar has gone up from 42000 Rials to 1 USD this summer to over 130000 Rials per 1 USD ( the euro being around 150.000 Rials per 1 euros at the time of this going to the press!!)
The advice is to exchange little by little.

The official bureau de changes which were closed down during the summer have resumed their activities somewhat but most are not selling hard currencies, they only buy them. As a result there are many middle men lingering around touristic places offering an exchange service.


English speaking guides

Trekkers who are opting for an English speaking nature or mountain guide in Iran should be aware of the fact that the general level of English spoken by many of these guides is not up to the standard they might expect. Cultural guides usually have a better level of English than most nature or mountain guides. The reason many trekkers wish to have an English speaking guide is to interact with the locals more meaningfully and learn about local cultures, however, the English the guides speak may disappoint them. The reason is that English learnt by many of these guides when they undergo training is inadequate and unless they have a strong motivation to take extra lessons their knowledge of the language especially spoken language remains generally low. Besides, many of these guides never get the chance to travel outside Iran mainly because it is extremely difficult to get visas (bar for a few far eastern and middle eastern countries) and also because until recently the number of incoming tourists has been low.