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Flying from Vancouver BC to Belize next week....first time and VERY excited. My only 'concern' is money....we'll be spending most of our time in Northern Belize, Corozal/Orangewalk areas.

From what I'm reading, it seems US dollars are mainly used, even more so than Belizean $$ and that ATM machines are far and few between.

What do YOU do, money-wise when vacationing in Belize?

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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1. Re: Money

We haven't spent much time in northern Belize on our visits, so what we do isn't specific to that area. We pay for some things in advance, use our Visa card and take traveler's checks to pay for some things and for emergency back up, take some US cash, then for the rest we use ATMs as we go; in my experience you get the cash in BZD and BZD in change even if you pay in USD. There are fees for ATM use but that's just a travel expense along with many others; some banks charge more than others.

Last year I set up a travel account at a different bank from where I normally do my banking; ATM card use is free and I use it while traveling, then change my password and empty it so I don't have worries about subsequent removal of the funds if the ATMs are buggy. I have it set up with daily emailed balance notices so I can keep an eye on my balance without having to use my bank password in questionable wifi environments.

I have a new travel credit card from Bank of America, too - no foreign transaction or ATM fees; incidentally it works in Europe, too, because it has the chip places there expect.

Remember to notify your bank and card company you'll be using the cards on foreign shores - where and when - and also find out before you hand over your card if there will be an additional fee for charge card use - sometimes 5% or more (in the past we've seen up to 10% in Belize). I email myself a scan of the travelers check numbers and our main passport pages and pack a copy of them with me, too.

Saint James City...
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for San Pedro
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2. Re: Money

I'm not very familiar with northern Belize either, but, I would guess there would be ATM's in Corozal and Orange Walk.

In the past year, places have gotten much more particular about the condition of the US dollars that they will accept. Had a friend here a couple of weeks ago that tried to be buy groceries, and her dollars were refused since they were not in good condition.

Make sure your US money has no rips or tears, and that it doesn't have any writing on it.

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3. Re: Money

I don't know what you've been reading, but I don't agree that "US dollars are mainly used, even more so than Belizean $$". While US currency is accepted by many businesses, Belize currency is the main currency here. You might find more US$ used in places like San Pedro or Placencia -- both get significantly more tourists than Corozal & OW.

In Corozal Town, each of the three banks (Atlantic Bank, Scotiabank, Belize Bank) has an ATM, and the credit union has an ATM. I know OW Town has at least two banks and a credit union. They are small towns and you won't have a problem finding the banks. An ATM might be hard to find outside those towns.

I live in Belize, but if on vacation, I'd bring some US$ in cash and rely on ATMs to get BZ$. If you still use traveller's cheques, only Belize Bank will cash them. Don't bring Canadian money.

Here's some more info...

Belize has its own currency (Belize dollars), but US currency is accepted in Belize. When using USD, the exchange rate is BZ$2 = US$1. When quoted a price in Belize, make sure you also know the currency.

Banks with an ATM are located in every city and main town. The ATMs use the Cirrus/Plus system (no Union Pays system ATMs in Belize), accept Visa, Mastercard and some other cards, and they dispense BZ currency. Different banks have different maximum limits for withdrawals: BZ$1500 at Atlantic Bank, BZ$800 at Scotiabank, and BZ$500 at Belize Bank. Scotiabank and Belize Bank also charge an ATM fee, BZ$4 and BZ$3 respectively.

For me, the best & easiest way to carry money is a plastic card that can be used in an ATM. My preference is a Visa debit card -- perhaps a bit riskier than other cards, but to each their own. In my worldwide experience, I found that Visa is more widely accepted than Mastercard. Don’t forget to notify your bank that the card will be used in another country.

If carrying US cash, bring lots of small notes ($1, $5 & $10) because sometimes the larger denominations might not be easy to change, and make sure the notes are in good condition. Larger notes can be used to pay for hotels. When spending US currency, Belize currency is usually given in change. Make sure you use all your BZ$ before leaving Belize because it can be difficult to exchange outside Belize.

Edited: 04 March 2014, 15:45
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4. Re: Money

thank you so very much...again....worries be gone!!! bring on the holiday :o-)

5. Re: Money

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