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Currency

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oxford
posts: 3
reviews: 2
Currency

We are shortly travelling to st Lucia and are wondering whether to use travellers cheques, last time we took us and ec dollars but run out of cash and spent ages at the bank. Hotels don't seem to change up currency.

Peaks Island, Maine
posts: 560
reviews: 11
1. Re: Currency

Travellers cheques are kind of of "old school" in a place like St. Lucia, but you can use them if that's what you feel comfortable with. You can easily get cash in local currency using ATMs in the towns (Soufriere, Castries, VF, etc.) and using the ATM you're likely to get the best exchange rate. That way you don't have to wait in any lines. When buying things, especially on the street or in local markets, you typically get the best deals using local currency since you don't have to deal with any rounding errors (never made in your favor) :)

oxford
posts: 3
reviews: 2
2. Re: Currency

Thanks for your reply, I think we will take a mix of currency and rely on ATMs, seems safest option too.

St. Lucia
Destination Expert
for St. Lucia
posts: 7,094
reviews: 10
3. Re: Currency

There is no reason to take US dollars as you are coming from the UK. Use EC dollars, as it is the currency of the country. You will get the best prices all around the island using the actual currency of the country. No need to change currency twice, and lose on both conversions. Stick with EC.

As far as travelers checks vs actual cash - you will get the very best exchange rate usings travelers checks - but we're talking one point, not a huge difference. You can easily change them at banks, there is one on arrival at the airport, which rarely has lines, maybe one or 2 people or so. Or, bring a bit of sterling, exchange at the airport and then use ATMs for future cash needs (just tell your bank your overseas!). ATMs are all around the island, no problem there. CCs are also widely accepted around the island at restaurants and tour operators, etc. Try to not exchange at the hotels - worst exchange rate!

Enjoy your visit!

Berkshire
Destination Expert
for Vieux Fort, Gros Islet
posts: 1,723
reviews: 53
4. Re: Currency

Hi,

The best rate you will get is to change either cash or even better travellers cheques in St Lucia rather than in the UK

see http://www.bankofsaintlucia.com/ for the current exchange rates. You actually get 2.6% more EC$ for sterling travellers cheques than cash.

If you are staying AI at Coconut Bay(your other post) you may not need too much cash so the flexibility of the ATM may outweigh the savings above

You may have to pay commission for sterling trav cheques but some UK banks sell them at zero commission. Trav cheques are insureed where cash may not be.

Rates and fees from ATMs vary according to your bank

STEVE

Vieux Fort, St...
Destination Expert
for St. Lucia, Castries
posts: 1,192
reviews: 1
5. Re: Currency

Travellers cheques not popular here anymore. Most serious businesses. Like restaurants, hotels, supermarkets take credit cards...maybe put your spending money on a holiday travel card...I saw they have like gift card things in the banks over in the uk today so load up one just for your holiday...you dont need much cash, you are on AI....and there is an atm at the airport and in vieux fort near your hotel for a bit of cash...as longnas it has Visa or Mastercard symbol on it, it is taken islandwide.

Do not buy e.c. currency in the u.k. the rate is dreadful...yes buy u.s. dollars if you get 1.5 or more, it works well, that gives you 4ec to the pound...so maybe bring bit of u.s. or even just bring english cash...it changes best in st lucia.

Berkshire
Destination Expert
for Vieux Fort, Gros Islet
posts: 1,723
reviews: 53
6. Re: Currency

St Lucia Debs,

I had no problem whatsoever changing traveller cheques at the bank in June. Because I was paying my hotel(2.5weeks) and meals etc I cashed quite a lot and saved c £150 against sterling cash and even more against if I had used credit cards, ATMs and or exchanged money in the UK

From the UK you just should not buy US $ (travellers cheques or cash) because you are paying bank charges twice once from GBP into USD and secondly from USD into ECS.

STEVE

7. Re: Currency

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