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Exchanging Money in Guatemala

bank250Unfortunately, changing money isn’t as easy as it is in many other Central American countries. In fact, it is border line troublesome. Trying to exchange any type of currency other than the US dollar is a hard thing to do outside of the international airports. Even trying to exchange currency from nearby countries can prove to be harder than expected.

If you only have a small amount of currency from other nearby countries, your best bet is to hold on to it until you go back or keep it as a souvenir. If you are unlucky enough to find yourself with a large sum of currency that needs to be exchanged, there are a few things you can do. The easiest thing to do will be to find try the casas de cambio (currency-exchange office) at Flores or any of the currency exchange booths in the Guatemala City airports.

ATMs and Cash Advances

As more and more tourists flock to Guatemala, the numbers of ATMs seem to grow. ATMs, or cash machines – cajeros automáticos can be found in just about every major tourist destination in Guatemala. Visa is certainly the card of choice down here. ATMs for the Visa/Plus System cards are just about everywhere, and MasterCard/Cirrus ATMs can be found, but you might have to hunting for them.

If the ATM is broken, you can always try the counter at the bank. Many banks in Guatemala offer cash advances on Visa and some MasterCards, but not usually AMEX. I have never understood why places would cash AMEX traveler checks, but not take AMEX cards.

Travelers Checks

Banks in Guatemala tend to give the best exchange rates on cash and for US dollar travelers checks. American Express travelers checks are, without a doubt, the easiest ones to use. If the bank is close or the line is too long, you may still have a few options. High end hotels and some travel agencies may cash or accept travelers checks.