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Another money question

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Newark, New Jersey
posts: 179
reviews: 83
Another money question

I am going to Guatemala for three days. On my previous trips I would bring cash and change it at the bank. I would love to just use a Mastercard and prepaid visa cards. Does anyone know if restaraunts like Hectors and Cafe Condessa take cards? I know not to use my ATM card. I would love to avoid bringing a lot of cash if possible.

Do you know if the banks exchange travelers checks.

Thanks in advance.

We are going for New Years Eve so I have a feeling that we are going to have to be extra careful.

Washington DC
posts: 360
reviews: 8
1. Re: Another money question

New Years Eve in Antigua is a blast. (I assume that's where you'll be, as you mentioned Hectors and Cafe Condessa). I've always paid in quetzales in those places--it's best to assume they don't take cards.

Take traveler's checks if you're concerned about cash issues.

Also--I know there are a lot of incidents of ATM fraud, but we always use the cajeros 5B, both in the capital and Antigua, and have never had an issue.

Exercise normal precautions on NYE and you'll be fine. It's a very festive and amazing experience.

Newark, New Jersey
posts: 179
reviews: 83
2. Re: Another money question

Thanks.. Yes, we will be in Antiuga. love it there.. I watched some video's and it looks great.. Hopefully not too crazy! I guess I will bring some cash and change it over..

Washington DC
posts: 360
reviews: 8
3. Re: Another money question

It's not crazy, but it's spirited and there's a lot happening. Wish I were going again...Have fun!

Newark, New Jersey
posts: 179
reviews: 83
4. Re: Another money question

Thanks.. I have been to Antigua for the Easter processions which were amazing and this trip was really a surprise.. and my husbands first time to Guatemala.. I am really looking forward to all of the wonderful food!

Washington DC
posts: 360
reviews: 8
5. Re: Another money question

Don't talk about the food...:) My wife's Guatemalan and her family are all there and can seriously cook. I can only dream about the tamales they are making now...sigh!

Where are you staying in Antigua?

Deerfield Beach...
posts: 2,535
reviews: 12
6. Re: Another money question

Hi there ....I'm with you. I aso prefer to use my credit card whenever I can. So, that I don't have to worry about using the ATM or carrying cash, even with the foreign transaction fee which can amount to a lot at the end your trip. Plus the 6% or higher surcharge they add sometimes in guatemala because that's what the bank charges them. But to answer your question, in guatemala I've been able to use my Visa and MC credit cards at gas stations, small supermarkets, and most restaurants in Antigua. And McDonalds and Pollo Campero which are my favorite places for breakfast all over guatemala because you don't have wait the whole day for them to bring you that second or third cup of coffee. And the coffee it's very good.

Newark, New Jersey
posts: 179
reviews: 83
7. Re: Another money question

We are staying at Posada Don Rodrigo. We stayed there before and I think it's just the perfect location. I am sure it will be loud but that's ok.. I have my favorite places already picked out to go to..

Do you have any favorites? Your wife probably knows the best places... and the coffee.. I just can't wait!

Newark, New Jersey
posts: 179
reviews: 83
8. Re: Another money question

Kyle,

Thanks for your reply.. Our credit card doesn't charge the foreign transaction fee although we may get charged the 6 percent.. I have carried a lot of money in the past and always felt like I just couldn't wait to get rid of it.. especially when groups of us were traveling together and we needed to pay our tour quides ect.. I think I will try to use my credit card as much as I can.. even with the percentage.. we are only there for three days.. how much can I really spend... ( I know)...

Will try McDonalds coffee.. although I really love the lattes from Cafe Condessa...along with a muffin of the day...

Washington DC
posts: 360
reviews: 8
9. Re: Another money question

Posada de Don Rodrigo is great. Sure, it will be loud all over Antigua, but that's the point on NYE.

Plenty of good places...the coffee at Condessa and Condessa Express is great, but I prefer the coffee at the place almost next door, El Portal del Cafe..superb. Cafe Ana is a great restaurant serving local classics. They buy their ingredients fresh from the mercado daily. Let's see...Sabe Rico is also fantastic with a lovely garden.

The usual suspects are also fine, such as the Fonda de la Calle Real. Hector's is also excellent.

Oddly, though, there are also a number of places largely catering to tourists that, well, suck. Too expensive and so-so food. but stick to the places where locals go and you'll be fine. I find that usually means a few blocks off the park.

If you have time, go to San Felipe, a short tuk-tuk ride away for a great market, historic cathedral and some really great typical food, including excellent steaks...

San Francisco
posts: 4
10. Re: Another money question

Kyle,

Thanks for your recommendation. I am also going to Guatemala for the first time for 2 weeks. Can you recommend a cooking school/class?

Sebastian