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antigua trip

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antigua trip

are ATM's safe in Antigua?

if not, what is the recommended method for obtaining Q's

Alma, Michigan
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1. Re: antigua trip

There are many risks when it comes to money no matter where you travel. You have many options. Not one is perfect. It is possible to get quetzales from USA banks. There the risk is carrying all that cash (i.e. all your eggs are in one basket). Travelers checks are an option but they are a pain to cash in Guatemala- and it is getting harder to find places willing to cash them. You can convert your currency at the airport. This is often at a more attractive exchange rate than at USA banks- but again all your in one basket. I have used ATM's in Antigua. Do not use the ones near the Central Park. Use the ones inside upscale hotels, inside banks. I have had good luck at an upscale jade shop. If you do use an ATM card, take steps to protect yourself. Disconnect your checking account from your savings account before you leave. Limit the cash in your account to what you can afford to lose. Talk to the bank about the daily limit that can be withdrawn. Most banks limit it to $1000 to $2000 per day. You can ask the bank to lower it to $300 per day. The good news is that most users have no problems, THose that do usually have problems several days or weeks later. This means upone return from your trip you should change your password. I have made six trips to Antigua. The first trip I was ripped off for $200. I then adopted some of these precautions. Since then, I have one attempt but they had no success.

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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2. Re: antigua trip

I think with the precautions mentioned above and/or below you'd be fine but it's good to ask. Here are my money practices, reposted from a previous thread.


For money I take US cash in small bills (no torn or really worn bills) and enough local currency to get me started which I save from previous trips or order online and pick up at my bank. I also take American Express travelers checks for hotels, Spanish schools, dive ops, etc. that allow me to pay that way - I find out in advance. Then for the rest I use ATMs as I go; in my experience you get the cash in the local currency and the exchange rate is decent. There are fees involved but that's just a travel expense along with many others; some banks charge more than others. I check out the forums ahead and avoid ATMs in areas with a history of problems.

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 - often the fraudulent withdrawals are made months after the trip. 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.

I only go out with the amount of money I need, sometimes in a 'throw down' wallet with a few expired cards and the day's cash. If I am transitioning from 1 place to another I keep my passport, cash, cards, etc. under my clothes.

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. I email myself a scan of the travelers check numbers and our main passport pages and pack a copy of them with me, too. I also go to www.oanda.com/currency/travel-exchange-rates and make tiny cheat sheets with the conversion rates for each country to keep handy. Happy trails!

Eau Claire, WI
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3. Re: antigua trip

We were in Antigua in March 2014 and used several different ATMs (including banks near Central Park) and had no trouble. I did change my PIN numbers when I returned home, but have seen no suspicious activities.

4. Re: antigua trip

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