Our trip is 19 days away and we are so excited! We are also getting into the nitty gritty now of planning and had some questions hopefully you can help us with:
1. Our preference is to carry as little cash as possible and use a credit card (Mastercard, American Express) so we are less crushed if we get pickpocketed. Besides street markets and taxis, of course, is plastic widely accepted? Is there generally a charge minimum? Is AMEX feasible as the only card we carry daily or do many stores not accept it?
2. How widely available are ATMs? (We use Capital One bank which has a pretty good network). Is cloning still a problem and are there any machines we should avoid?
3. We are also going to Atilan (day trip), Ixmiche (day trip), and Monterrico (overnight). Should we expect no ATM/ credit cards in those places and carry cash only, or are they available?
4. We are foreign service, speak some Spanish, and are reasonably savvy, but are traveling as a group of 7 this time with 4, 7, and 12 year old kids so will definitely stand out as gringos. Can someone who is on the ground give me a fair sense of risk? Say on a scale of 1-10...10 being Kabul, 1 being Cedar Rapids. We are staying at Soleil in a condo, and are using viaventure for transport, so I don't see us staying out till 2AM or riding chicken buses, but there are still enough stories of being robbed at gunpoint out there that I'm a bit concerned.
Thanks so much!