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Money & costs


The currency of Georgia is the lari (GEL). It’s relatively steady, and was valued at 1.76 to the US dollar in 2007. One lari is made up of 100 tetri (still referred to by many people as kopecks!). Bank notes come in denominations of one, two, five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 lari; coins are one, two, five, 10, 20 and 50 tetri, and one and two lari.

ATMs, generally accepting MasterCard, Visa, Cirrus and Maestro cards, are plentiful in cities and most towns.

They all issue lari and a few will dispense US dollars as well. There are also plenty of small money-exchange offices in most towns and cities; they usually take US dollars, euros or Russian roubles.

It’s useful to have some of these currencies in cash for times when there isn’t a convenient ATM nearby. You can make purchases with credit cards at the better hotels, restaurants and some shops in Tbilisi, but much less frequently outside the capital. Travellers cheques can be exchanged only in some banks.