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#40256 02/23/02 02:27 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
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Gaelen Offline OP
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Quick question that I thought I remembered seeing a thread on once but now can't find it...
Are there ATMs on Ambergris where I can use my U.S. card? That's usually what we prefer to do when we travel... just withdraw in local currency from the ATM.
If the answer is no, should we bring traveller's checks and cash them as we go? Or is it easier to bring U.S. cash and exchange it? I'm not worried about the loss/theft protection of traveller's checks since in that case we'll mostly use credit cards and just bring a bit of cash/checks anyway.
Thanks in advance! We're leaving soon so I"ll be sure to post my trip report when I get back!

Gaelen

Joined: Apr 2000
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I say just bring US cash, and your credit cards. Most place will accept your credit card. Don't worry about your walking around US dollars, all places will accept the US cash, and give you Belize dollars in change. Actually most hotels will exchange your US to BZ for you. Much easier to pay in Belize dollars, instead of thinking divide by 2 or pay in full, up and down the street buying drinking and eating.
Try as hard as you may, to get rid of all the BZ dollars before leaving, you just can't do it. It is odd but you will find a few BZ dollars always follow you home, to remind you to come back. So I put them in my passport, for the next trip.


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Joined: Jan 2002
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Traveler's checks work great for security, etc, but, I recommend exchanging them for US dollars at "Milo's" at the north end of Barrier Reef Drive (Front Street).

When we were on AC last year, we'd get about 210BZ for 100US at Milo's. At banks, you'll pay a transaction fee and resorts or stores usually give 2BZ for 1US.

Don't count on ATMs. I don't think there were any on AC and the ATMs in Belize City didn't accept US cards.

Before tossing your credit card on the counter, you may want to ask if the merchant adds a transaction fee. Although Visa and MasterCard merchant agreements prohibit the practice, some merchants add 3-5% onto the bill if you use a credit card.

Have a great time - AC is wonderful place

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Mastercard.......for $3600.BZ or $1834.05US + a tran.fee of $36.68US was charged as $1870.73US to my card. OMG, looking at my hotel bill on checkout it was $1533.54US, but when it got to my charge card it was billed at $1834.05US +. Glad you brought this up, won't happen again. Sorry I rambled here, but seems I best check out this charge.


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We'll be going to Ambergris Caye for our first visit next Sunday--finally!! Had to cancel the trip last year. This board has been so helpful in giving us a picture of what to expect and to look forward too--along of course, all the other research we've had a year to bone up on. Anyway, notified our NextCard visa about our pending trip and asked if we would be charged a transaction fee. Here's what they had to say: "Visa International charges 1% and NextCard charges 2% with a minimum of $3 charged for each transaction made overseas." We'll be bringing cash! Hope this helps.

Joined: Jun 2000
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You don't need to exchange U.S. for Belize dollars at the bank anymore, ALL businesses take U.S. dollars. Don't count on being able to use your ATM card, unless you go to Belize City and your card has a VISA logo on it then, MAYBE it will work. For cash advances on credit cards I believe Barclay's Bank is the best source. I don't think they charge service fees, but Atlantic and Belize Bank do. I've met many tourists that came to Belize and expected to be able to use their ATM cards and were unprepared for the reality of vacationing with no access to money. Traveler's Checks are accepted everywhere with a passport. One not about TC, if you go to a bank and want to cash more than $400 U.S. in TC, you will need to show them your original papers/book that you got from the bank - the one they tell you not to keep with your TC, the proof of purchase.
--Silk

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Gaelen Offline OP
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Wow, thanks for the tip ladyquixote... we put most of our charges on a NextCard because it gets "miles," so I called NextCard to ask them if that ridiculously high fee could possibly be correct. They said yes -- and we have a platinum card!
Sounds like we'll stick to cash and our *other* credit cards. Thanks for the info everybody!

Gaelen

Joined: Jan 2002
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Glad to help! Our thanks to the board for the priceless information we've gathered here. Have spent the last hour strolling through the Ambergris Caye photo album at this web site. We're more than ready to ditch the cold and snow for beach, ocean, and Belizean smiles...in just 7 more days!!

Joined: Apr 2000
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Gaelen and Lady, quick question how are you paying for your hotel/resort room?


Dare To Deviate
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I paid with a credit card, we're staying a week at Banana Beach and didn't want to bring that much cash along.

Gaelen


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