Foreign tourist coming to Azerbaijan should be aware of the recent devaluation of local currency (Azeri Manat) and subsequent problems it caused. Azeri manat seriously dropped in price to American dollar in December 2015 that caused panic among population that was trying to preserve their savings by converting them to foreign currency. The problem is that they expect a further devaluation of manat in the coming days and all those with manats are desperate to change them to dollars. But all exchange office currently either are closed or not selling foreign currency. They still might be buying dollars at the official rate set by Central Bank but there is hardly anyone willing to exchange USD for manat. Withdrawing dollars from cash machines is also not realistic now as they are not reloaded with Euros and USD.
So what problems the current situation might bring to foreign tourist? It is still would be possible to pay for accommodation in larger hotels by card, but smaller transactions in shops and restaurants have to be done in cash only, as it is still mainly a cash economy and all small businesses are not accepting cards. So tourists will have to bring enough cash to cover their day to day expenses. Besides it is not advisable to exchange large amounts of dollars to manat as there are serious concerns of another devaluation within coming days, so it would be better to change a bit by bit.
To give you a retrospective overview of how the situation evolved:
1 USD = 0,78 Manat (before Febraury 2015)
1 USD = 1,02 Manat (after Febraury 2015)
1 USD = 1,56 Manat (after December 2015)
1 USD = circa 2,00 Manat (January 2016) black market rate