Going to Placencia in July and wondering what to do about money. I heard most places require cash. Do the ATMs distribute U.S. dollars? What do other travelers do?
Smaller establishments accept only cash, but you will find many places that do accept credit cards. Although the US Dollar has a fixed rate tied to the Belizean Dollar (1:2) and is widely accepted as legal tender in Belize, the ATMs there will be dispensing Belizean Dollars.
You should bring a hundred or two in usd to start you off and withdraw as necessary. I've read not to withdraw too much in BZD though, as it is not as easy to exchange back into USD (don't know if this is wholly true in this day and age). Use your card if you're making bigger purchases or for meals at restaurants so you can save your cash on hand for when you will need it.
I'd suggest bringing some USD with you, using a credit card, and getting BZD from ATMs (they dispense BZD not USD).
US currency is widely accepted in Belize. When using USD, the exchange rate is fixed at BZ$2 = US$1. When quoted a price in Belize, make sure you also know the currency.
If carrying US cash, bring a combination of small denominations ($1, $5 & $10) for small purchases, and larger denominations for hotels & tours. Make sure the notes are in good to excellent condition -- notes with writing or tears or are really worn might not be accepted. When spending US currency, Belize currency is usually given in change. Make sure you use all your BZ$ before leaving Belize because it can be difficult to exchange outside Belize.
Banks with an ATM are located in every city and main town including Placencia. ATMs accept Visa, Mastercard and some other cards. The maximum limits for withdrawals are: BZ$1000 at Atlantic Bank, BZ$600 or $800 at Scotiabank, and BZ$500 at Belize Bank. Scotiabank and Belize Bank also charge an ATM fee, BZ$4 and BZ$3 respectively.
Mister B, my husband and I are in Placencia right now. We tried to withdraw money today from Belize Bank and Scotia, but it wouldn't go through. I let my bank know I would be traveling and I know there is money in the account. Do you think it's a problem with my stateside bank or the ATMs here? My card has a chip in it if that matters.