Lempiras for travel?

I’m traveling to Roatan in 3 weeks and looking to exchange USD’s for Lempira but none of my banks exchange in the currency and the specialty currency exchange services like Travelex are way overpriced (20 percent of value). Do I really need lempira staying on the island or will US dollars cover anything me and my wife are going to need on our trip? With exchange rates we learned, we often can travel the Caribbean getting along fine with the USD and no domestic currency. Will it work there that easy along our credit cards? Thanks.



Of course you should not exchange because you can pay everything in , this is Central America


Welcome @Bob,

Most establishments accept credit card payments, so no need to walk around with loads of cash. Banks offer a competitive exchange rate and some credit cards do as well. This is especially true if you take into account the convenience of just paying with a card you already have in your wallet. You’ll save the hassle of dealing with “exchange” centers etc.

There are ATM machines on Roatan. Most will issue Lempiras. However, there is an ATM machine at the airport which will give you the choice between dollars or Lempiras.

Bring cash, in dollars. But make sure you:

  • DO NOT bring $20 bills. Many places do not accept $20 bills because of counterfeit look-a-likes.
  • DO NOT bring any bills which are torn. Locals will not accept torn bills of any denomination.

Bring cash dollars, as a secondary payment alternative for small transactions in places that may not accept credit cards or to pay street vendors. These establishments won’t necessarily give you the best exchange rate, but many will give you change in Lempiras, so you only get penalized on that first transaction. From that point forward, you’ll have lempiras in your pocket for the next transaction.

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Your dollars are good here. Most places will accept payment in Dollars. Stop by Eldon’s (Grocery Store) and have them exchange on or about $300 for you to have some “walking around” money.

  • Where are you staying?
  • What do you plan on doing?

The area you’ll be at, and the activities you plan on doing will help us better advise you.

Take care and happy travels.


Thanks C. Did you mean include “…you can pay everything in US$ , this is Central America”


What part of the island will you be staying in…this matters.

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Staying in W. Bay but we’re renting a car and will be throughout the island spending time in communities to see if we’d like to relocate long term. US dollars not easily used in particular areas? Cash is just a backup when we cant use a Visa/MC


The further east you go, the more Lempiras you’ll need…at a minimum, infrastructure decreases.


I dont mind rough roads but is day time travel east safe?


In many ways, Traveling east is safer. You should be totally fine. If you had the time to travel way east, to Helene, you’d be even more safe, but you’d need to be ready to take a boat ride to get there.

Helene is the just now getting electricity and the area may soon be more conducive to tourism and investment activity.


Is it best/easiest to pay in USD or the Lempira when we are in Roatan for vacation?


@wheels48 - I’ve relocated your post to a previously existing thread which has the answer you are looking for. I hope this information is helpful to you.

$1. $5, $10 and $50 USD bills?

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