ATM's, Credit Cards and Money Exchange in Djibouti

Your quick reference guide to a low and no-fee stay (because we all know Djibouti is expensive enough already)

Once you adjust (or not) to the sweltering heat in Djibouti, you may want to venture out of your hotel and explore the place. In order to get out and about, you will need cash (for taxi fares and water and many other things). Here are some quick pointers on where and how to exchange cash without exorbitant fees, what ATM's to use, and where you may be able to use your credit card.

Once you land in Djibouti, there is an ATM located at the airport in a little kiosk to the right after you exit. I have never used this ATM but I do expect that there is a fee to do so. If you are looking for a fee-free ATM, look for Bank of Africa ATMs. There is one on "Route de l'Aeroport" coming from the airport into town, and also one in the mall. These ATM's are especially helpful if you carry a debit card with low foreign transaction fees (for example our credit union charges 1%). Keep in mind that VISA ATMs are more prevalent than Mastercard.

Typical taxi fare in Djibouti runs between 500-1500 DJF per ride depending on how far you are going. This is roughly between $3-8 USD. A meal at a nice restaurant can easily cost between $30-50 USD. The exchange rate is typically around 177DJF to 1 USD, though this will vary a bit when exchanging money. To exchange money, you will need to find one of the appropriately titled "money changing ladies" downtown (this is just what the expats call them). Theses ladies are usually on every corner around Hammoudi Mosque, and are distinguishable by the large cloth bags in their laps. You will likely not have any problems with dishonesty in the exchange rate with these ladies, and can exchange various types of currencies.

Credit cards are accepted at most of the larger grocery stores, but really nowhere else. You will definitely want to be prepared to get cash.

Enjoy your stay in Djibouti and don't forget to check out some of the sights while you're here!

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