Money and Costs
Bargaining over prices is part of everyday life in Mozambique. However, apart from tourist-oriented places, don't assume that quoted prices are inflated. Especially in markets in smaller towns, the first price is often the 'real' price (ie, the same price locals pay). A bit of good-natured negotiating is never out of place, but if the seller refuses to budge, assume their initial price was one they feel is fair.
Mozambique’s currency is the metical (plural meticais, pronounced ‘meticaish’) nova família, abbreviated as Mtc. Visa-card withdrawal from ATMs is the best way of accessing money.
- All larger and many smaller towns have ATMs for accessing cash meticals. Most accept Visa cards; Millennium BIM and Standard Bank machines also, and less reliably, accept MasterCard.
- Many machines have a limit of Mtc3000 (US$120) per transaction. BCI’s limit is Mtc5000 (US$200) and some Standard Bank machines dispense up to Mtc10,000 (US$400) per transaction.
- Note denominations include Mtc20, Mtc50, Mtc100, Mtc200, Mtc500 and Mtc1000, and coins include Mtc1, Mtc2, Mtc5 and Mtc10. One metical is equivalent to 100 centavos (Ct); there are Ct1, Ct5, Ct10, Ct20 and Ct50 coins.
- Carry a standby mixture of US dollars (or South African rand, especially in the south) and meticals (including a good supply of small-denomination notes, as nobody ever has change) for times when an ATM is nonexistent or not working.
- Credit cards are accepted at most (but not all) top-end hotels, at many midrange places, especially in the south, and at some car-hire agencies; otherwise they're of limited use in Mozambique.
- Visa is by far the most useful, and is also the main (often only) card for accessing money from ATMs.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
In low-budget bars and restaurants, tipping is generally not expected, other than perhaps by rounding up the bill. At upmarket and tourist establishments, tipping is customary (from 10% to 20%, assuming service has been good). Tips are also warranted, and always appreciated, if someone has gone out of their way to do something for you.
Travellers cheques are not accepted for exchange or direct payment in Mozambique.
- US dollars are easily exchanged everywhere; together with South African rand, they are the best currency to carry.
- Only new-design US dollar bills will be accepted. Euros are easy to change in major cities, but elsewhere you’re likely to get a poor exchange rate.
- Casas de câmbio (exchange bureaus) are the most efficient places to change money. They usually give a rate equivalent to or slightly higher than that of the banks and are open longer hours.
- You can also change money at some banks; BCI branches are generally good. Most banks don't charge commission for changing cash. Millennium BIM branches will let you change cash only if you have an account.
- Changing money on the street isn’t safe anywhere and is illegal; asking shopkeepers is a better bet.
Budget: Less than US$50
- Dorm bed: US$10 or less
- Double room in a budget hotel: US$30–40
- Local-style meal: US$5
- Bus ticket from Maputo to Tofo: US$12
- Double room in a hotel: US$60–150
- Restaurant lunch or dinner: US$10
- Short taxi trip: US$8–10
Top end: More than US$200
- Double room in an upmarket hotel: from US$150
- Meal in a fancy restaurant: from US$15
- Flight from Maputo to Vilankulo: $150
Mozambican new metical (Mtc)