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what is the best method of money to take?

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what is the best method of money to take?

I'm headed to Placencia in January 2011, have read lots about the area, and am not sure what to take for currency...What is the easiest to pack on my person?, they said VISA was not always accessiable..hate packing to much cash, just because our hotel dosen't have a safe., and travelers cheques means having to had ID on my person all the time....Please help!!!

Davie, Florida
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1. Re: what is the best method of money to take?

bzd or usd or always accepted at 2bzd to 1USD. Plastic is widely accepted but not everyplace. Use ATM's as needed.

Bradenton, Florida
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2. Re: what is the best method of money to take?

US$. Everyone accepts, no problem. Visa and Mastercard readily accepted. Also, ATM/debit cards accepted, and will give you Bz$ in exchange. Use the BZ$ you have before you leave, or save them for the next trip!

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3. Re: what is the best method of money to take?

I'd suggest some US$ (small notes; you can spend it in Belize, and you'll get BZ$ for change) and a VISA card.

There's a Scotiabank in Placencia with an ATM.

Spend all your BZ$ before you depart Belize.

Edited: 30 August 2010, 01:32
Waterloo, Canada
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4. Re: what is the best method of money to take?

The advice above is probably better than anything I could give, having not been there yet. But I would add...be sure to check with your hotel about what forms of payment they can take, and maybe even ask their advice?

I've been in touch with some hotels in Hopkins (which admittedly is less developed than Placencia), and been advised that there is no ATM there and very few places take credit card. One hotel took cash (USD or BZD)/traveller's cheques only. However, she also indicated that she was able to take change traveller's cheques for me, so if your hotel can do that then you may be better able to use them. Otherwise, I agree they aren't terribly practical.

If you have any tours or activities planned, you may also want to check on what forms of payment they'll take, since that will probably be your other big expense.

For those who have been to the smaller cities of Belize, when there are ATMs are they generally well stocked? My only previous travel experience in a 3rd world country was in Honduras, where our ATM trips were a bit hit-or-miss (and this was in a fairly large city). We found some machines empty, and others didn't take our cards. Of course, it didn't help that we were there during Semana Santa when there were lots of closures, and we were trying to wrangle enough cash to pay bills for a school group of about 20 people!

Having said that, the worst time I've ever had trying to procure cash was actually in Paris during an armoured car strike, so even in the 1st world you can't predict what's going to happen, can you? :-)

San Ignacio, Belize
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5. Re: what is the best method of money to take?

There are 4 ATM's in Placencia, so you should be fine there. Everyone prefers US cash, and it goes a long way, except with the tours.

Milton, Delaware
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6. Re: what is the best method of money to take?

I always just pack some US cash. My credit card company charges an exhorbitant international usage fee, so I only use it when I have to like when checking out of the hotel. The hotels like cash too, of course, but you might not want to walk around with that much cash. Do you still use checks? Most hotels like them too.

Placencia, Belize
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7. Re: what is the best method of money to take?

One thing you should know about bringing US Travelers Cheques is the exchange rate. A few months ago the Belize banks stopped categorizing them as cash, and now the exchange rate is the same as credit cards. This means instead of 2bz/1usd you will only get approx. 1.985 bz/ 1 usd. That amounts to a shortage of about 1.50 bz (or 75¢ us) per US $100. Also, smaller shops and restaurants may have trouble cashing a large denomination cheque so be sure to bring some $20s. Usually a photo ID and a copy of your passport will suffice.

Placencia, Belize
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8. Re: what is the best method of money to take?

ATM's in Placencia tend to be reliable, I use them frequently. Check to see if your bank has an agreement with Scotiabank for no transaction charge (I am Bank of America and they don't charge me the $5 fee)

If you are worried about having cash, pay your hotel charges up front rather than at the end of your stay.

Hang on to your small change, no-one ever has change in Belize!

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9. Re: what is the best method of money to take?

We brought a little bit of cash with us - maybe $100 US. Then we just used the ATM at Scotiabank when we needed it. Was surprisingly secure compared to what I expected it to be. Heck, it was way more secure than the banks in my little town. For tours, everyone we used had no problems taking VISA. Everything else we just paid cash for.

Saint James City...
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for San Pedro
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10. Re: what is the best method of money to take?

On Ambergris, I found you can get a 10% savings on many tours if you pay in cash vs. a credit card. Well worth a trip to the ATM.