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Question about credit card and bringing cash to Belize

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Question about credit card and bringing cash to Belize


I wanted to know if it would be wise to bring mostly cash for my Belize trip or bring a credit card and half of my cash amount. I wanted to know if VISA is accepted at most places and how bad the charge is for taking cash out at a local bank in San Ignacio. Thank you.

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1. Re: Question about credit card and bringing cash to Belize

It is a good idea to bring US dollars. US currency is accepted in Belize – the exchange rate is fixed at BZ$2 = US$1. When quoted a price in Belize, make sure you also know the currency.

Banks with an ATM are located in every city and main town. The ATMs accept Visa, Mastercard and some other cards, and they dispense BZ currency. Some banks charge an ATM fee (BZ$4 at Scotiabank). Different banks have different maximum limits for withdrawals. With Scotiabank, the maximum is BZ$800. A couple of years ago, the maximum with Atlantic Bank was BZ$1000, but when it dropped to BZ$700, I stopped using them. At Belize Bank, the maximum is BZ$500 with a BZ$3 ATM fee.

For me, the best & easiest way to carry money is a plastic card that can be used in an ATM. My preference is a Visa debit card -- perhaps a bit riskier than other cards, but to each their own. In my worldwide experience, I found that Visa is more widely accepted than Mastercard, and Visa worked in more ATMs than an ATM card from a bank. Don’t forget to notify your bank that the card will be used in another country.

As a backup, I still carry a few hundred dollars in traveller's cheques. They are not obsolete, I've never found them to be a hassle, and they have saved me on a few occasions when I couldn’t use an ATM (card wouldn’t work, no ATM available, ATM out of order, ATM out of money). Never had a problem cashing them and never had to wait long at a bank.

If carrying US cash, bring lots of small notes ($1, $5 & $10) because sometimes the larger denominations might not be easy to change. Larger notes can be used to pay for hotels. When spending US currency, Belize currency is usually given in change. Make sure you use all your BZ$ before leaving Belize because it can be difficult to exchange outside Belize.

And make sure the notes are in good to excellent condition otherwise they might not be accepted.

Edited: 1:10 pm, May 26, 2013
2. Re: Question about credit card and bringing cash to Belize

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