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#51997 - 06/27/02 04:58 AM Cash, Visa, or traveler's checks?
Wild Bill Offline
I've read all kinds of conflicting information, such as: 5% surcharges for Visa and ripoffs where someone gets your Visa (checkcard) number and drains your account. Some recommend traveler's checks; others say they're not widely accepted in Belize. And then, is there really any need for BZ dollars?

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#51998 - 06/27/02 05:39 AM Re: Cash, Visa, or traveler's checks?
silkpainter Offline
I've never had a problem with anyone ever accepting a traveler's check in Belize as long as I had my passport. If you go into a smaller store, they might not have change for a $100 U.S. check on a $5bz purchase, so bring $20 checks. Not every place you go accepts credit cards either. So, bring a mix, and make sure you bring some small denominations $1, $5 & $10s its easier to tip and pay for small purchases. Another misnomer, you don't need to change your U.S. dollars at the bank, U.S. currency is accepted by everyone, in fact, many businesses that have to buy supplies outside of Belize (like my own business) actually prefer U.S. dollars.
--Silk
www.caribbean-colors.com
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#51999 - 06/27/02 06:02 AM Re: Cash, Visa, or traveler's checks?
seashell Offline
Silk's advice is right on.

I always take $200-500 cash with me, in smaller denominations, and a wad of $1s for tipping porters and such. I also take the rest of my "fun money" funds in traveler's cheques, some in $20, $50 and $100 denominations. If you take it all in $20s, that's one big wad of paper. However, as Silk said having the $20 are easier to change at the little stores. I can always get the bigger ones changed at the hotel, dive shop, etc. (Worst case scenario, you can get it changed at the bank or the Western Express).

I only use my credit card for my acco and/or diving and only then if I've used up all of my traveler's cheques. That said, I've never had a bad surprise at the exchange on my VISA bill when the charges finally shows up back in Canada. Therefore, charge conversions should be even cleaner for Americans.

I prefer to use cash for drinks and dinner, especially if having a few drinks. It's easier to pay as you go and then there is not as much chance of a misunderstanding over the number of beverages consumed as the evening wears on, if ya know what I mean.

You start out using American dollars and you'll get your change back in Belizean currency. So, for example, if you purchased something for $16.00 Belizean and gave a $20 U.S. bill, you will receive $34 BZ in change. If you purchase something for $16 U.S. and tender a $20 U.S. bill you will receive $8.00 BZ, in change. On occasion, you'll get a mixture, and for the last example, you might receive $1 U.S. and $6.00 BZ in change.
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#52000 - 06/28/02 05:49 AM Re: Cash, Visa, or traveler's checks?
trina Offline
I brought $200 US travellers checks with me this time, and it wasnt' enough. Not all restaurants take credit cards, and it's a pain to have to "shop around" to eat. So I advise to bring about $300-$500 travellers checks for one week; that would be for two people on a "budget" (us), but if not on a budget, take more. And we used credit card for tours and excursions and hotels. Things seemed a bit more expensive this year than last year. San Pedro is one the most expensive places in Belize, and likewise, Central America. Maybe Costa Rica too, I'm not sure. But probably still pretty cheap compared to the rest of Caribbean world, I'm thinking. And don't forget that $20 US you have to pay in departure tax. Does anyone know why the heck they don't charge it on the way in, rather than on the way out? It's such a pain to have to keep worrying about making sure you'll have that extra cash to leave! Weird.

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#52001 - 06/28/02 06:16 AM Re: Cash, Visa, or traveler's checks?
seashell Offline
Yeah, trina, SP can be expensive, but I think of it as paying for something I don't get elsewhere, that something special that I can't quite put my finger on. As for what could* be had elsewhere for the money, I think you could get much nicer digs and beach and like that there, on the Mexican Riviera and Coz. But I want what I'm addicted to and that seems to be that something special I can't quite put my finger on.

As for the departure tax, I always put that money away into a special compartment when I first arrive. I'm not allowed to touch it and actually try to forget that it's there at all until I get to the airport to leave.
_________________________
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?


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