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forms of payment in San Pedro

Posted By: ts

forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/24/05 09:43 PM

Thanks for all the great info on this board - planning to spend a week in San Pedro next month, and have a very basic question: Do establishments (restaurants / bars / etc.) generally accept credit cards, or is cash preferred? AND, are ATMs available/convenient in San Pedro? Just trying to figure out how much $$ to travel with vs. just visiting an ATM as needed while there. Thanks!
Posted By: Caye Crazed

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/25/05 12:01 AM

ATMs are generally not available or convenient.There is one at the Belize Bank near and across from the Stained Glass Window restaurant.Visa and Mastercard are as good as cash at most places so you can check out what charges you are paying on the card.I read an article that indicated MBNA had the lowest foreign charges.Cheers!
Posted By: Bawlmer_Hon

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/25/05 01:10 AM

We read somewhere that merchants often charge a 5 to 15 percent premium when customers use credit cards. Don't know how true that is.
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/25/05 01:52 AM

Some do charge but only 4% - 5%
Posted By: SnorkelG

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/25/05 02:19 AM

When I travel I usually bring very little cash and plan to use credit for everything. On my first trip to San Pedro I found that I ran out of cash fast and had to get a credit advance from the bank which of course involves a surcharge. This time I am bringing more cash and travelers checks.. We needed cash to pay our favorite snorkel guide Alphonso ($25-30 per person per trip) as well as many local shops that did not take Credit cards. Jambel's Jerk pit(one of my favorites) charges 5% extra to use credit. Most hotels will happily exchange US travelers checks for BZ$ at no charge or if you can get to the bank by day you can cash them in there. I will still try to use plastic whereever possible , but in San Pedro, more than other vacation spots, cash is easier.
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/25/05 02:38 AM

The Belize Bank ATM on Front Street is convenient and has always worked when I've tried it (along with the other 10 or 11 Belize Bank ATMs around the country). Occasionally the ATMs may be down, though.

You'll get cash in Belize dollars.

Won't help in San Pedro, but First Caribbean Bank ATMs also work with foreign ATM cards. I'm told Atlantic and ScotiaBank ATMs may accept foreign cards within the year. 'Bout time.

--Lan Sluder
Posted By: BDinAZ

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/25/05 04:41 AM

We have used the Visa travel money card on recent trips to Mexico and Jamaica. It's just like travelers checks but in the form of a Visa loadable card I think up to $5k.
But you can use it for everything from plane tickets to getting cash from the ATMs. Note: fees do apply on certain transactions.
We liked it because you only spend what you plan, you can leave most of your own cc's and debit cards at home and don't need the hassle/worry of carrying too much cash on vaca.
Prior to this I used to put cash into a beltlooped crotch wallet that was rather uncomfortable until the end of vacation when the money and my "gifted" appearance faded.

Here is a website with what sems to have the best fee structure. AMEX also has a card but I believe their fees were considerably higher.
https://travelmoney.nationalcity.com/index.cfm
Posted By: ts

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/25/05 03:52 PM

Thanks for all the info folks - you've been a great help!
Posted By: john robertsdenver

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/25/05 04:54 PM

Speaking of belts, R.E.I. and some other travel shops carry and old style web belt with a plastic old style G.I. type buckle that is zippered for carrying quite a few large bills. Being plastic, it is great going thru airports, and the handy hidden zipper, will easily hold 1200 to 1500 bucks!! Plus it holds your pants up---one size fits all!! Bon voyage! john denver
Posted By: krehfish

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/25/05 05:44 PM

SnorkelG: When were you at Jambel's? I looked at my cc receipts from 8/04 and the charge was 2%, which was the same as Tropic Air, Fido's, and a couple of shops.
Posted By: GRAFFICE

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/26/05 02:25 AM

I'VE WONDERED ABOUT THE NEW CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS AND WOULD LIKE TO USE BUT WONDER ABOUT HOW ACCEPTABLE-ANY INPUT? WE GOTTA GO TO THE BANK THIS WEKEND OR NEXT smile DUANE
Posted By: BDinAZ

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/26/05 02:35 AM

Duane,

We have used them in Jamaica and Mexico (less traveled Yucatan side) and never had an issue.

Anywhere VISA is accepted or the VISA logo is accepted is where you can use the card.

It's just a travelers check in a plastic card.

National City, AAA, and a few others offer the VISA. AMEX has it's own program.
Personal opinion only: National City seems like the best for the money.
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/26/05 03:51 AM

My preference is cash - to avoid the surcharges, except for more expensive things, like when you check out of your hotel, or the flight from Belize City over to the island. It is helpful to bring lots of small bills (1s, 5s and 10s) for tips, etc.
Posted By: windyw

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/26/05 04:06 AM

We always take mostly cash,most of the better places have safety boxs in the room or at the office.last year we would go to a money exchange,the best one was on middle street and change 100us for 205belize,never stood in line.
We bought a braclet for our daughter and the guy said he would knock off 20us if we used cash instead of credit card,so you can make out pretty good if you bring lots of cash
Posted By: coopersworkshop

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/26/05 05:34 AM

Should the cash be Belize cash, US cash or Canadian?
Posted By: jfabes

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/26/05 05:40 AM

Cash should be in either us currency or belize currency. US currency can easily be changed to belize currency from what I have read.
Posted By: Catatonic Motivator

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/26/05 06:20 AM

US cash is the best, most accepted exchange and will get you the most for your money, as well as being the best tender for those who accept it. Win-win deal, overall.

We also use credit cards--and have never seen more than a 2% charge added only occasionally (and we have merchant accounts in the US--that's an acceptable number). As well, the exchange rate is generally slightly better than the two for one rate in cash.

The difference is in the real life value of US dollars to the vendor. It's still the best way to go, if you're concerned about what really turn out to be very small variables.

I do like JRDenver's plastic buckle money belt plan. It keeps things rather discreet and lets you maintain an excellent level of safety. I'm going to find a couple of those for us.
Posted By: collyk

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/26/05 07:53 AM

For someone travelling comfortably but not expensively how much cash would you recommend planning for per day on AC?

How much on the mainland?

(we are not planning on going on tours every day - maybe two to three a week)

Given that we are from the UK and don't understand the American gallon thing, how much approx would it cost to fill up an average size hired 4x4?

Thanks in advance for your help.

I am so excited I am about to burst.
Posted By: SnorkelG

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/26/05 02:16 PM

Krehfish, It has been a few years since I was at Jambel's. Your 2% is apparently more recent and more accurate. Sorry for spreading old news. 2% is no biggie and the prices are so reasonable to begin with.
Posted By: Bawlmer_Hon

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/26/05 07:02 PM

Don't forget that most of the creditors charge 3% for using their cards outside the US. You should call and check. Discover said they do a straight currency exchange though. Do any of the vendors, etc. accept the Discover card??
Posted By: klcman

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/26/05 08:01 PM

not many
Posted By: Barbara K

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/26/05 08:48 PM

I paid $108 BZD last week to fill up in San Ignacio - not quite on empty. Mitsubishi Outlander. Paid by cc, as most gas stations now take them.
Posted By: collyk

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/27/05 08:04 AM

Thank you very much Barbara.
Posted By: CrackerLarry

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/27/05 01:59 PM

collyk, we did very nicely with about $350 a day spending money. This covered food, drinks, snorkel trips most days, one Lamanai trip, with some left over for buying artwork, jewelry and woodcarvings.
Posted By: collyk

Re: forms of payment in San Pedro - 01/28/05 08:32 AM

Cracker Larry thanks so much for that estimate, that gives me a good idea....counting the minutes...
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