Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#388147 - 09/19/10 09:54 PM questions about my first stay in AC and skype
Decompression Offline
Hi everyone, this is my first post. I have read and learned ALOT from all you friendly people cool

As I said this will be my first trip to AC, and will be staying on the north side of the island.

Couple newbie questions....

Where is the best place to exchange my US dollars for BZ dollars? Belize City airport? San Pedro town?...or not at all? I have read a lot about how the US dollar is taken most everywhere, but i assume change is given in BZ dollars? Easier to just exchange?

Since my resort offers free internet, would using Skype be my best bet, and cheapest way at keeping in touch with family and business? Or am I missing something?

Thanks for any advice or opinions you might have.
Hope to be slamming down a few Belikin beers VERY soon!

DS

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#388150 - 09/19/10 11:00 PM Re: questions about my first stay in AC and skype [Re: Decompression]
rumpuncher Offline
We never exchange our money. BZ dollars and US dollars are both seen on the island. We have never had a problem. The exchange rate is always 2:1 so doesn't matter whether you exchange or not. No one has ever had a problem with us paying in US dollars.

As far as internet goes, all I can say is our resorts advertised "free internet" as well, but it turned out it worked only in very limited areas. At one resort it was only by the office and pool. At another, it worked only on the balcony, facing the ocean, pointing your computer out as far over the rail as you could. While at that resort, we had 3 days of rain, over 11 inches in one day, making internet access impossible as the computer would have gotten extremely wet! So just a heads up. Your resort may be different and I hope it is, but don't necessarily rely on flawless service.

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#388151 - 09/19/10 11:07 PM Re: questions about my first stay in AC and skype [Re: Decompression]
shuffles Offline
The only thing I would say about exchanging money is that it is easier to use Belize money unless you want to do the math on the front end (prices listed in Belize dollars) and again on the back end (change will be given back to you in Belize dollars)

For someone who is not math oriented, it can be confusing
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#388153 - 09/20/10 12:04 AM Re: questions about my first stay in AC and skype [Re: Decompression]
tcoats Offline
We never exchanged our money on our first several trips to the island, but as Shuffles indicates, you pay in US but get change in BZ. That seems really easy, but when you are having to think fast, give a tip, make sure you got the right change back, it can sometimes be un-nerving. And for those whose minds might be impaired by a few Belikins... So now we exchange our money and then exchange it back when we leave. We do it at Milo's on Middle Street in SP, but you can also do it at the bank window at the international airport. The advantage is that when you exchange at a service, you actually get more BZ for it. Say, if you exchange $500 US, you might get $1020 BZ. Doesn't sound like much but $20 extra BZ would buy you lunch or some Belikins. If you use USD as you go, then you just get the straight 2 to 1.

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#388154 - 09/20/10 01:17 AM Re: questions about my first stay in AC and skype [Re: Decompression]
Diane Campbell Offline
You will should ask your resort if they have a system that supports Skype (many do not because the provider blocks it).
You can also rent a local cel phone and have your relatives call you......

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#388162 - 09/20/10 03:51 AM Re: questions about my first stay in AC and skype [Re: Diane Campbell]
P.J. Offline
Originally Posted By: Diane Campbell
You will should ask your resort if they have a system that supports Skype (many do not because the provider blocks it).
You can also rent a local cel phone and have your relatives call you......


Im not positive, but I dont think it will have anything to do with the service provider of the resort(I was told that Skype is blocked by the gov't, but I think the gov't has a large stake in BTL, however it is blocked by Coral Cable as well), but I could be wrong. Someone more tech savvy can probably clarify whether the service provider issue.

However, all you have to do is get VPN on your laptop or if you have an iPhone, you can turn your VPN on and use it like its a regular phone while you are within wifi and it will not matter who the service provider is. Just Google Hotspot Shield and you will find all the answers you need. Hope that helps and enjoy your stay.


Edited by P.J. (09/20/10 03:52 AM)
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#388167 - 09/20/10 01:25 PM Re: questions about my first stay in AC and skype [Re: Decompression]
SimonB Offline
BTL is the the service provider and is the the one that does the blocking, Coral Cable routes through BTL therefore it is blocked as well. If the resort has satellite Internet it won't be blocked.

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#388169 - 09/20/10 01:33 PM Re: questions about my first stay in AC and skype [Re: Decompression]
Diane Campbell Offline
Sometimes the bandwidth of a free-standing satellite (non BTL) dish is not sufficient to support a good connection with VOP.
Best to ask the resort about their particular situation.

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#388177 - 09/20/10 04:14 PM Re: questions about my first stay in AC and skype [Re: Decompression]
Voxman Offline
Internet connections here are unreliable at best. With a VPN it makes it even more so. Skype from Belize can be very frustrating! If all the stars align and the wind is a certain direction and it all coincides with the time of day you may hear everything the person says or see them quite pixeled on the other end...:) It has worked for us but it's rare to have it uninterupted.

We've found Windows Live Messenger (MSN) to work great. It doesn't seem to require a VPN for me and has been waaaaay more reliable. If both computers have cameras and mics then just hit, "video call". Good luck!

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#388185 - 09/20/10 05:20 PM Re: questions about my first stay in AC and skype [Re: Decompression]
denjy Offline
Agree, have always done video calls using MSN Messenger with very few problems.
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Dennis

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