A coastal resort has taken offshore banking to a whole new level as it must take customer’s credit cards out to sea to take payments.
In idyllic Chichiriviche de la Costa, Venezuela, the country’s dire economic crisis led to thieves stealing the cables and transmitters of the town’s antennas.
As a result, locals have been left with no internet connection and must take tourists’ plastic two kilometres out into the Caribbean Sea.
Out there, they can use the signal from neighbouring Uricao, so the transmission can be completed before taking the 20-minute return trip.
Rocío Ruiz, a hostel administrator, said: “Our only option is to take a boat and sail for 20 minutes out to sea.
“Then we get internet connection and can process the transactions.
“We go about a kilometre and get the other town’s signal and through that we can charge clients.”
The town’s main industries – diving and fish vendors – all revolve around the tourists that visit Chichiriviche de la Costa.
Since the thefts more than a year ago, residents have grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of investment in repairing the infrastructure.
Rocío said: “The economic situation is so bad we can’t even make use of the money we have.
“When you withdraw money all you can get is 5000, 10000 or 20000 bolívares notes.
“But the cost of living is so high now that a cookie cost at least 25000 bolívares alone.”
The transactions require a lot of trusts from visitors to the beach, with tourist Barbara Tabata describing the process as ‘risky’ and ‘you don’t know what’ business owners will do with your card details.
Alvaro Rodriquez, resident, said: “This is a lovely part of Venezuela.
“Why doesn’t anybody do anything to solve our issues and let us work with tourists?”