Currency in the ports

tekoa

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
First time Disney cruisers going on a Western Caribbean in April. We are not planning any excursions at the ports, but would like to get off the ship to look around and maybe do some shopping. Will we need to purchase currency from AAA etc. for the ports or do they take U.S. currency? We do not plan on using debit or credit cards. For Mexico, Jamaica and Grand Cayman. Thank you.
 

PrincessShmoo

DIS veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2009
First time Disney cruisers going on a Western Caribbean in April. We are not planning any excursions at the ports, but would like to get off the ship to look around and maybe do some shopping. Will we need to purchase currency from AAA etc. for the ports or do they take U.S. currency? We do not plan on using debit or credit cards. For Mexico, Jamaica and Grand Cayman. Thank you.
Yes, the tourist places will take US dollars. Don't use big bills, however (keep it to ones & fives). The change you get back is typically local currency. But not always. And the exchange rate isn't all that great.
 

starvenger

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
First time Disney cruisers going on a Western Caribbean in April. We are not planning any excursions at the ports, but would like to get off the ship to look around and maybe do some shopping. Will we need to purchase currency from AAA etc. for the ports or do they take U.S. currency? We do not plan on using debit or credit cards. For Mexico, Jamaica and Grand Cayman. Thank you.
FYI I attached a photo of the taxi board in Cozumel. Prices are in USD. Recommend that for the taxis pay cash and tack on ~20% for tips.
 

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  • daedelus

    This will be my greatest performance!
    Joined
    Dec 23, 2017
    Be careful in the Caribbean - some of the countries will try to give you Eastern Caribbean Dollars as change or even in the ATMs. DCL will NOT exchange ECD's onboard. Double check ATMs to make sure you get one that dispenses US Dollars.

    In general, I use my credit card for everything if I can, then dip into cash for the small things I can't. I've never had anyone in the Caribbean refuse US currency. (unlike Europe...)
     

    Cruising Engineer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 18, 2018
    Agree with @PrincessShmoo , use very small bills. If you hand the vendor $20 for a $5 trinket, you will most likely get 15 whatever back in local currency. Just figure you paid $20 for the $5 trinket. And don't waddle through your wallet looking for a $5 among the $20's. Just have some $1's and $5's in your pocket and leave the wallet out of sight.
     

    FSU Girl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 20, 2016
    I've always used dollars when traveling in the Caribbean. We will typically has small bills so change isn't always necessary, but when I've gotten it it's been in dollars too.
     

    jrabbit

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2002
    Note about Jamaica - The ship docks in a "Gated Vendor Community". You need you photo id and ships id to leave the area (you should have these to get off of the ship anyway), but it is not recommended to go outside the gates on your own. If you want to get away from the port you should either book a DCL excursion or use a local tour vendor.

    regarding currency: I recently found a Bahamian Quarter in my neighborhood - all shiny and new. Never have seen one before - so I looked it up. In the Bahamas, its worth a US quarter, outside of the Bahamas, it was basically worth nothing.
     
  • starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    Be careful in the Caribbean - some of the countries will try to give you Eastern Caribbean Dollars as change or even in the ATMs. DCL will NOT exchange ECD's onboard. Double check ATMs to make sure you get one that dispenses US Dollars.

    In general, I use my credit card for everything if I can, then dip into cash for the small things I can't. I've never had anyone in the Caribbean refuse US currency. (unlike Europe...)
    I think Europe doesn’t widely accept GBP or Swiss francs, so refusing USD is unsurprising to me. And if they do, make sure you’re not getting hosed on the exchange rate.
     

    dad of 3 addicted to DCL

    Waiting for January
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2017
    I thought it would be fun to load up on pesos for our first W. Caribbean. Handed out some to the kids and the rest for DW and I. Holy cow. Massive conundrum inthe shops when I tried to pay in the *local currency* for items. They kept asking if I had USD or a credit card. At that point, I just wanted to offload the pesos. Never again in Mexico at least. Not sure if it will be the same in Europe.
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    I thought it would be fun to load up on pesos for our first W. Caribbean. Handed out some to the kids and the rest for DW and I. Holy cow. Massive conundrum inthe shops when I tried to pay in the *local currency* for items. They kept asking if I had USD or a credit card. At that point, I just wanted to offload the pesos. Never again in Mexico at least. Not sure if it will be the same in Europe.
    I think you should be ok bringing Euros. I don’t actually recall seeing signs for any currency BUT Euros in Barcelona, Vienna or Bratislava (for those of you thinking of river cruising).
     
  • Capt_BJ

    So Many Times
    Joined
    May 17, 2005
    be careful in Cayman where the US dollar is WIDELY accepted ... the Cayman Dollar and the US dollar are 'coupled' but not equal so it behooves you to know if a price you see is US or Cayman CI cuz the US dollar is only 80 cents CI

    aka a US $10 is equal to CI $8 . . . <she may look 20, but she's 16 CI>
    {" how much is this drink?" $8 so you toss a US $10 ..... the bartender is still expecting a tip .... cuz you get NO change
    buy two drinks and the charge is $15 ci and you toss a US $20 .... you get $1 Ci back ...... WHAAAAAT ... I faced this conundrum within the first 30 minutes of our first Cayman visit in the 80's!}

    particularly in restaurants the prices are typically in CI and this in noted in fine print on the menu (SURPRISE ... in Cayman most places have a menu with prices in the local currency.) Your $8 burger in CI is $10 US .... and it is not unusual, esp'ly if paying with credit card for an 18% tip (CI) to be automatically added.

    The result is if buying a burger ($8ci) and a beer ($6ci) .... and paying us US: the tab you get is BIG. If you compute as a 40% tip - that's how the conversion and tip works out in simple terms ..... this causes casual visitors occasional o_O :confused3 moments if not familiar ..... very sad to hear when folks add tip on top of a tip already applied btw!!!
     

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