The currency is the Eritrean Nakfa. It is pegged to the US Dollar. There are 15 Nakfas to the USD. Coins are issued in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents and 100 cents and 1 Nakfa. Banknotes are issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Nakfas.

The best Eritrean souvenirs are traditional handicrafts made from leather, olivewood, clay and straw. These can be found in most souvenir shops in Asmara along with traditional home-spun cotton garments. Posters and postcards are also readily available at most press-kiosks even at the airport. Leopard and zebra skin as well as ivory items can be found in the souvenir markets, but you will be stopped from leaving Eritrea with these. Then, you will probably be stopped and fined at your home destination, because international trade in such materials is banned. Eritrea however has several souvenirs made from goatskin. Gold, pearl, and silver jewelry is also available in the markets in Asmara along with frankincense and myrrh. Beware buying textiles such as home-spun cotton garments, animal skins with fur and mats; they could be infested with parasites. Make sure it has been washed, treated and dried before returning home.


Eritrea is generally a very cheap place to shop, eat, travel and spend time Hotel prices, apart from the pricey 5-star Intercontinental in Asmara, are also very cheap. The only things that could be expensive in the country are understandably imports especially fuel, services that depend on imports up-scale restaurants, hotels, private transport or flights and various government fees visas, airport taxes, travel permits etc.. If you stay away from imports or bring such things as toiletries and cosmetics, eat locally, stay at regular budget hotels especially the government-owned, and travel on public transportation, you need less than $50 per day for food, lodging and transport.