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Banks and Exchange Services
ATMs can be found at banks in Kingstown and their branches. U.S. dollars are accepted nearly everywhere, although you'll receive change in Eastern Caribbean currency (EC$), which is the preferred currency. U.S. coins are not accepted anywhere. The exchange rate is fixed at EC$2.67 to US$1. Hotels, car-rental agencies, and most shops and restaurants also accept major credit cards and traveler's checks.
Don't pack camouflage clothing. It is illegal to wear any form of camouflage clothing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (as it is on most Caribbean islands), as that pattern is reserved for the local police. The law is strictly enforced, and the clothing may be confiscated.
Electric current is generally 220-240 volts, 50 cycles. Some large resorts, such as Petit St. Vincent, have 110 volts, 60 cycles (U.S. standard); many have 110-volt shaver outlets.
Egles Internet Cafe (Beachmont St., Kingstown, St. Vincent, VC0130. 784/457-2020. www.calleagles.com/cafe.htm.)
Sunset Internet Cafe (Front St., Port Elizabeth, Bequia. 784/458-3722.)
Surf 'n' Send Internet Cafe (Gingerbread Complex, Belmont Walkway, Port Elizabeth, Bequia. 784/458-3577.)
The General Post Office is on Halifax Street in Kingstown, St. Vincent. Most villages on St. Vincent have branch offices. Bequia's post office is in Port Elizabeth, across from the jetty. Airmail postcards cost EC60¢ to the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom; airmail letters cost EC90¢ per ounce to the United States and Canada, EC$1.10 to the United Kingdom. When writing to a location in the Grenadines, the address on the envelope should always indicate the specific island name, followed by "St. Vincent and the Grenadines, West Indies."
You need a valid passport and an ongoing or return ticket to enter St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The area code is 784. If making a collect call to the United States, dial 800/CALLUSA (800/225-5872). For international credit-card calling, dial 800/744-2000.
Taxes and Service Charges
The departure tax from St. Vincent and the Grenadines is $16 (EC$40), payable at the airport in cash in either U.S. or EC currency; children under 12 are exempt. Increasingly, departure taxes are incorporated into the price paid for airfare, although St. Vincent is currently an exception. A government tax of 10% is added to the room cost on hotel bills, a 15% V.A.T. (value-added tax) is added to restaurant checks and other purchases, and a 10% service charge is often added to hotel bills and restaurant checks.
If a 10% service charge has not been added to your restaurant tab, a gratuity at that rate is appropriate. Otherwise, tipping is expected only for special service. Bellmen and porters, $1 per bag; housekeeping, $2 per day; taxi drivers and tour guides, 10%.
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