Belize
Photo Courtesy of Thomas Prior
The exchange rate is pretty much always 2 Belize dollars for 1 U.S. dollar. U.S. dollars are widely accepted, but be advised that some businesses will refuse them if they are torn, wrinkled, or contain any writing. The recent rule has been implemented because local banks won't accept tender of torn and marked bills. Belizeans are some of the friendliest and proudest people you will encounter—if someone is offering help or suggestions, they usually are doing so with the most genuine of intentions. In many cases, locals dine in the same restaurants tourists do. Absent is the stigma of “tourist traps” you find elsewhere in the world. Expect grocery prices to be higher on the Cayes than on the mainland, especially for Western products. Don’t look for McDonalds, Starbucks, or other chains—Belize doesn’t have them. Most businesses are family-owned, lacking a noticeable corporate influence.