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Money and Shopping in Central America


Money and Shopping in Central America

Just about every country in Central America accepts the U.S. Dollar. Other currencies are difficult to exchange. You can exchange Mexican Peso at the Belize Border or Guatemalan Border but that is about it. The U.S. Dollar is the official currency of El Salvador and Panama so there is no need to exchange money in these countries. You can buy pretty much anything or any service in U.S. dollars, but it might be sometimes cheaper to buy in the local currency. Currencies such as the Córdoba or the Lempira are usually highly inflated so only get what you need. Nearly all banks change money from U.S. Dollar to the local currency and a passport is usually required to do this. Beyond border towns, currencies are always useless when brought outside the country to change money with official money changers at borders. If bringing U.S. Cash to Central America, make sure that the bills are new, clean and not torn or it may not be exchanged. $2 bills are considered lucky so bring some for tips. Banks in Belize do not exchange the Guatemalan Quetzal; they must be changed at the border or at some travel agents and tour operators. ATM's can be found in banks and in major towns but in the country side it is often hard to find working ATM's. Most ATM's dispence the local currency and U.S. dollars. In Central America, you can often find cheap buys from gifts to personal necessities. Almost everything can be bargained for except for upscale department stores. Tourists will usually pay a higher price so this is where your haggling will be useful.

The Most Frequently Asked Travel Questions about Central America


Where To Stay & Best Hotels in Central America - updated Feb 2023

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Central America Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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