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Old 01-11-2010, 09:38   #1
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Access to Cash and the Internet in the Bahamas and Caribbean

My husband and I are Canadians and are planning to liveaboard and cruise from Florida to the Bahamas and maybe further south. I am concerned about keeping cash on board and I am concerned about how we're going to get cash. Has anybody used Traveller's Cheques? Do businesses accept debit cards and give cash back?
I also will need to have internet access for banking and communication with friends and family. How easy is it to get internet wifi or internet cafes?
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:58   #2
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Travellers checks are no longer used. As long as you're in the States ATM's will do the job. In the Bahamas, once you get out of the three major centers ATM's are non existent. Wifi is available but again spotty once you're out of the three centers.
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:59   #3
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I wonder about the use of debit cards at business establishments and the ability to get cash back,for example, at a grocery store.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:18   #4
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We have been cruisisng for 3 years, Nova Scotia, US, Bahamas, virtually every island in the Caribbean, Trinidad, Venezuela, ABCs and Columbia and the US debit card has been used in all the locations and has worked in over 75% of the ATMs. We have never been more that 2-3 days without internet except for the Bahama out-islands and the run from Georgetown to Puerto Rico...

We also have open tri-band cell phones and we have bought a local chip and airtime in a total of 8 countrys usually for $20 or less and if there is a quad band I am sure my wife has one!

We do keep some US $s in 20s 10s 5s and is hard to get a $100 bill split. We use a debit card because it is easier than paying monthly bills.

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Old 03-11-2010, 12:32   #5
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Here is a link to all of the RBC -Royal Bank Locations throughout the Bahamas (they are plentiful). Access to cash won't be problematic.

RBC Royal Bank - RBC Caribbean Banking

You can get cash back at the Winn Dixie supermarkets in Freeport & Lucaya, as well as at the ubiquitous Bahamas Supermarkets. You can use your debit cards at most places in Nassau, Freeport, & Lucaya. Furthur afoot and things get spotty on the use of plastic, but no real threat of being "stranded", as a bank isn't going to be too hard to get to.
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Old 12-11-2010, 19:24   #6
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Originally Posted by capabear View Post
I also will need to have internet access for banking and communication with friends and family. How easy is it to get internet wifi or internet cafes?

I have NEVER been skunked for internet other than in the remotest parts of the Jumentos in the Bahamas.

I have a package from Marine PC's & WiFi by IslandTime PC - my boat is one of three featured showing different mounting solutions - which is reasonably affordable, and which I use routinely under way as much as 10 miles offshore.

I'm writing this from where you can have a look by going to - out in the woods, so to speak, off Eleuthera. I have no interest in islandtimepc other than as a deliriously happy client with a kick-ass computer and WiFi setup from Bob Stewart, the owner.

Visit his site and order his WiFi, and install it atop the mast like I did. You'll have the same results as I've experienced, based on the reports I've had from the dozens of folks I've sent to him who have bothered to tell me about their experiences.

As to cash, you don't have to be in the major places. Marsh Harbour has several banks with ATMs, as does Georgetown, Spanish Wells, other places in Eleuthera, and so on. Credit cards are fairly widely accepted as well, though you'll sometimes have a surcharge for using them.

If you're relying on a laptop instead of something like I have, you'll have a great deal more difficulty in finding internet, though it CAN be done, and internet cafés abound, some free, as well as some hotspots for free. In the Bahamas there are several subscription service providers of varying qualities; sometimes you'll be too far out to see them where you're anchored, but in general they try to be where folks like you can use their (usually expensive, at least by my lights) service. Note that I had a total of 3 paid days this year, and that was just because I had a buddy boat who needed some large volume, fast; we shared the cost, and he logged into my router (which I leave open and would be happy to share my - free! - signal with you if you're in my anchorage).

If you go to the above webpage and mouse over the WiFi section you will see one subsection on my boat, along with many scans in the Bahamas, to give you an idea of why I'm never without internet...



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Old 17-11-2010, 03:22   #7
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Does anyone know if "Cirrus" is available in the Carribean?
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Old 17-11-2010, 06:43   #8
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MasterCard (credit), Maestro (debit), and Cirrus (ATM) are different brands, of MasterCard. You can use your MasterCard, Maestro, or Cirrus card to withdraw cash from any ATM that displays the MasterCard, Maestro, or Cirrus logo.
Check the MasterCard ATM network, in the United States & Canada:
1-800-4CIRRUS (1-800-424-7787)
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