GC trip upcoming...cash/credit question

Mar 4th, 2003, 02:37 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8
GC trip upcoming...cash/credit question

Donnapg and karan, thanks for your trip reports about GC! I have learned so much from what I have read from various posts here. We will stay at Aqua Bay later this season. I have never been out of the country, so I'm looking forward to it. Here is my question...

Can you comment on the use of VISA/MC in GC? I see some restaraunts don't accept it and I am feeling uncertain of how much we will use cash and how much we can charge. I assume I could access cash through an ATM in GC and if so will there be a large surcharge?

If it helps we are staying in a condo. We plan to eat at "home" (groceries) along with restaurants on both the high and low end of the scale . We will also proabably do the basic tourist stuff. Thanks for any info you can offer relating to my question!!
nn is offline  
Mar 4th, 2003, 03:47 PM
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I'm also interested in this.

Do we need to bring traveler cheques? We usually do that and credit cards (visa).

susan1 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2003, 04:53 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Have stayed in GC for the past 3 yrs. Have always used credit cards for everything - car rentals, grocery stores, restaurants, snorkeling trips - never a problem. Also have used ATM machines for CI$. Never a problem. I think that travellers checks would be a pain.
Jacqueline1212 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2003, 05:07 PM
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I use a combination of cash and credit cards. Your best bet on cash is to use an ATM. I have a Citibank checking account and used the ATM at Fosters near the airport. No charges and the exchange rate was $.825/$1.00 which is 2 1/2 cents more per dollar more than you will get exchanging US for CI. Most places do accept credit cards, but realize that they will do the .80/1.00 conversion before they process the charge. Before the ATMs were so prevalent, I used to take cash. Most places accept TCs if you feel safer that way.
NorthSideSue is offline  
Mar 5th, 2003, 03:06 AM
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nn - Hi - just got back from GC on Saturday - we also stayed at Aqua Bay - it was great. Just a suggestion - the water was a little rocky - we bought Water shoes at Fosters - everything was great after that. We used our MC/Visa everywhere. No problems - took cash but bought most of it back. Be sure to try the Calaypso restaurant about 1 mile from Aqua Bay. We did rent a car
which you will need staying at Aqua Bay if you are planning to eat out much.
Have a great trip. Muffy
Muffy is offline  
Mar 5th, 2003, 03:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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nn-we used credit cards everywhere. There may be some smaller places that do not accept them, but we did not encounter them. We did take cash just in case. We used cash at the turtle farm but they probably would take a credit card too.
If you feel comfortable with travelers checks, then by all means bring them.

There are atm's. I did not know that you would get the extra conversion on them but our bank would have charged a fee.

Posters are right about the GC conversion-they do not put thru charges in GC dollars and let the credit card companies convert them-they put it thru as US Dollars.

We found the beach a little rocky as well and never thought that fosters would have the water shoes. It is a great idea as is bringing your own snorkel equipment. There really is no easy place to rent equipment near Aqua Bay.

I concur about Calypso Grill. Gail the manager at Aqua Bay recommended it. It is excellent but not inexpensive.

Have a great time and feel free to post other questions.

karan is offline  
Mar 5th, 2003, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 221
There may be some advantage to the retailer doing the conversion first - many MC/VISA issuers are adding 1-2% to the required 1% currency conversion transaction fee - but if the charge is submitted in US dollars, none of these transaction fees apply. However the bank conversion rate is often better for you than the retail rate, but then the fees apply.

Either way, I use my credit card in all the islands all the time. I don't bother with traveler's check. Best advice - take lots of smaller bills. I usually carry at least $50 in ones and $100 in fives and tens. Small vendors never have change for big bills - I've seen people try to give kids selling cokes out of a cooler a $20 and expect them to have change.
tigerhawk is offline  
Mar 5th, 2003, 11:43 AM
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Clarification in my last post - some advantage TO YOU if retailer does the conversion. You pay the fees, even though they are not itemized on your statements. In any event, credit cards are excellent regardless of method of currency conversion.
tigerhawk is offline  
Mar 5th, 2003, 12:26 PM
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nn-i agree with tigerhawk about the small bills and lots of ones.

karan is offline  
Mar 9th, 2003, 08:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8
Thanks for the helpful info on cards, exchange rates, ATM's and small bills. I appreciate everyone's helpful info!

Muffy and Karan, can you comment on using the phone (both for local and US calls) from Aqua Bay Club?
Did either of you use a calling card or utilize internet access while there? I am definitely "getting away from it all" so hope not to spend too much time communicating with home. But my DD and DS will need some checking on (and for that matter grandma and grandpa, too!)

I also wondered about something I read on this board that recommended using an inflatable mat when snorkeling. Did you find that necessary?

Was there anything you took along that you were really glad to have with you or anything you wish you would have brought that you did not?

nn is offline  
Mar 10th, 2003, 03:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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nn-local calls were no problem from our condo. Lcoal cell phone numbers though do not work.

I used my ATT cell phone twice. I did not use the phone for long distance with or without a credit card. I beleive Gail said sometimes it works.

There is internet access available. I can't remember how much money it was but I do not think it was outrageous. We did see a couple of internet cafe's and bars offering access.

I can't comment on the raft although I did see people using them. I also saw people using the snorling life vests-they are very thin but work well.

Sunscreen and bug repellent are key. Also, any drugs, even the over the coutner stuff casue everything is more expensive.

karan is offline  

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