Credit Card or Cash in Belize?

Credit Card or Cash?

When planning your trip to Belize, it’s essential to understand the payment landscape to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. In Belize, both credit cards and cash are widely accepted, but their usage varies depending on the location and type of establishment. Generally, hotels, resorts, and larger restaurants and shops accept credit cards, whereas smaller businesses and rural areas prefer cash. It’s beneficial to carry both forms of payment to navigate Belize’s diverse financial landscape effectively.

Credit Cards: Convenience in Urban Areas

Credit cards are an excellent option for transactions in urban and tourist-heavy areas of Belize. Major credit cards like Visa and MasterCard are commonly accepted in hotels, upscale restaurants, bars, and larger retail stores. Using a credit card provides the convenience of not carrying large amounts of cash and offers a record of all your transactions, which can be useful for managing your expenses(Anywhere Travel)​​ (Frommers). However, it’s essential to notify your bank about your travel plans to avoid any issues with international transactions and to carry a backup card as a precaution.

Cash: Essential for Rural and Local Transactions

While credit cards offer convenience, carrying cash is indispensable for certain situations, especially in rural areas and for small purchases. In the western part of Belize and smaller villages, cash is often the only accepted form of payment. US dollars are widely accepted alongside Belizean dollars, with an exchange rate fixed at 2 Belize dollars to 1 US dollar. It’s advisable to carry small denomination bills for easier transactions and to avoid issues with change (Anywhere Travel)​​ (She Saves She Travels)​.

ATM Usage and Fees

ATMs are readily available in major cities and towns such as Belize City, San Pedro, and San Ignacio. However, ATM availability becomes sparse in rural areas, so it’s wise to withdraw enough cash before heading to more remote locations. Keep in mind that ATM withdrawal fees can add up, so it’s more economical to withdraw larger amounts less frequently. Always check if your ATM card is compatible with local ATMs and consider changing your PIN to a four-digit number to avoid potential issues【Frommers】.

Tips for Managing Your Money

Managing your money effectively in Belize involves a mix of using credit cards where possible and keeping enough cash on hand for smaller transactions and tips. Tips are customary in Belize, so it’s useful to have small bills ready for porters, waiters, and tour guides. Remember that while credit cards are safe and convenient, they can incur foreign transaction fees, so check with your bank beforehand to understand any extra charges. Additionally, avoid relying on electronic payments like PayPal, as they are not widely used in Belize (Frommers)​​ (She Saves She Travels).


Navigating the payment systems in Belize requires a balance of both credit cards and cash. By planning ahead and understanding where each form of payment is accepted, you can ensure a hassle-free experience. Whether you’re exploring the urban delights or venturing into the rural heart of Belize, being prepared with the right payment methods will enhance your travel experience. 

Share your experiences with us in the comments below, and let us know your tips for managing money while traveling in Belize!

By following these guidelines, you’ll be well-prepared to handle financial transactions in Belize, making your trip more enjoyable and stress-free.

coconut, milk, drinks, food
Smile, Sunset, Village
man_walking_San_Ignacio_Market, San_Ignacio_Market, Western_Belize

3 Responses

  1. For those wondering, San Ignacio has a lot of big resorts and restaurants that accept credit card. However there are still a few accommodations that take cash only. Buses and Taxi service are cash only, as well as surrounding villages like soccuts and the neighboring town of Benque takes cash only. It would be wise to have a hand full of cash and use it only in places that don’t take card. The average minimum purchase price for card usage in Western Belize is $20 bzd ($10 USD).

  2. Very nice explanation of the article. It covered everything in a nutshell for credit card/ cash in Belize. I am a credit card holder and have always enjoyed the reliability of it when accessing most grocery shops, gas stations, visiting restaurants, resorts or booking hotels in the urban areas. As explained above carrying cash as well is very essential especially for paying public transportation, tipping and buying from the Farmers Market (a large gathering of local farmers/ venders selling their produce) that most towns have. It is also important to check for a credit card accepted sign when entering a business in order to avoid any surprises as there are a few restaurants that intentionally choose to boycott the card system.

  3. As a resident of San Ignacio, Belize, I’ve noticed a nuanced approach to payments. While larger establishments are card-friendly, many smaller businesses and essential services operate on a cash-only basis. This holds true not just in San Ignacio but also in neighboring villages and towns. As a resident, I’ve learned the importance of balancing both cash and cards to navigate daily life seamlessly. It’s a reflection of the town’s unique blend of modern convenience and traditional practices, where adaptability with different payment methods enhances the living experience.

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