Peruvian Currency

The Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN) has been the currency of Peru since 1991, when it replaced the inti. The nuevo sol (plural nuevos soles; symbol S/.) is divided into subunits called céntimos, much like the US cent or the British pence, with S/.1 equal to 100 céntimos.

Note: In November 2015, Peru’s Congress voted in favor of changing the name from Nuevo Sol to Sol. When exactly that will be fully implemented is anyone’s guess.

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Peruvian Nuevo Sol Banknotes

The Banco Central de Reserva del Perú (Peru’s central bank) issues Peruvian Nuevo Sol banknotes in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 nuevos soles. The BCRP redesigned all of the banknotes in 2011; both the old notes and the new notes are currently in circulation as legal tender.

Below you can see all of the latest nuevo sol banknotes. Apart from an aesthetic overhaul and the introduction of new security features (to combat the problem of fake money in Peru), the new notes are not too different from their older counterparts. They all feature the same portraits of deceased individuals from Peruvian history, but with different historic sites on the reverse.

10-nuevo-sol-peru-banknote

The S/.10 banknote features a portrait of José Abelardo Quiñones Gonzales, a Peruvian pilot who died heroically during the Ecuador-Peru war of 1941. The reverse shows the classic view of Machu Picchu. The earlier S/.10 banknote has Quiñones’ inverted biplane on the reverse.

20-nuevo-sol-peru-banknoteThe S/.20 note bears a portrait of Peruvian historian Raúl Porras Barrenechea (1897-1960). The reverse shows a section of the Chan Chan archaeological site near Trujillo in northern Peru. The earlier design shows the Palacio de Torre Tagle, located in the historic centre of Lima.
50-nuevo-sol-peru-banknoteThe S/.50 note features a portrait of Abraham Valdelomar Pinto, a writer born in Ica in 1888. Pinto died at the age of 31 following a fall while touring Ayacucho. The Chavín de Huantar archaeological site (near Huaraz) is shown on the reverse; the earlier note features the Laguna de Huacachina oasis near Ica, a popular base for dune buggy rides and sandboarding.
100-nuevo-sol-peru-banknoteThe S/.100 banknote has a portrait of historian and former Minister of Education Jorge Basadre Grohmann on the front. The archaeological site of Gran Pajatén, located in the Rio Abiseo National Park (department of San Martin), is on the reverse. The earlier note features the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library) in Lima.
200-nuevo-sol-peru-banknoteThe S/.200 note is something of a rarity (I’ve seen it only once), but it does exist. The front features a portrait of Saint Rose of Lima, while the reverse shows the archaeological site of Caral-Supe (located north of Lima), the oldest known city in the Americas. The earlier note shows the Convento de Santo Domingo in Lima.

Peruvian Coins

Peruvian coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 céntimos, and 1, 2 and 5 nuevos soles. The Banco Central de Reserva del Perú pulled the previously existing 1 céntimo coin from circulation on May 1, 2011.

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According to the Peruvian Consumer Code, change given for any cash payment must favour the buyer. For example, a supermarket purchase totalling S/.9.99 must be rounded down to S/.9.95, or from S/.9.94 to S/.9.90, when paying in cash (the price does not change if paying by card).

Below you can see the front side of all the Peruvian coins currently in circulation. The 5, 10 and 20 céntimo coins are decorated with designs from the Chan Chan archaeological site. The 50 céntimo and S/.1 coins feature a laurel design, with Nazca Line geoglyphs on the S/.2 and S/.5 coins. The BCRP also releases “collector’s edition” coins, normally featuring historic sites. The reverse of each Peruvian coin bears the Peruvian National Shield and “Banco Central de Reserva del Perú” (see coin image, bottom right).

 5-centimos-peru-coin  10-centimos-peru-coin  20-centimos-peru-coin  50-centimos-peru-coin
 1-nuevo-sol-coin  2-nuevo-sol-coin  5-nuevo-sol-coin  peruvian-coin-reverse