In the centre of the Bekaa Valley, 44km from Beirut is Chtaura, the main stopping point halfway between Beirut and Damascus. Chtaura is the valley's banking and commercial centre. Hotels, film and picnic supplies are readily available. It is the traditional rest stop for visitors to the area with numerous cheap eateries along the main road, and the starting point for the service taxis that take passengers to different destinations within the valley, as well as to Beirut and Damascus.
Chtaura's banks have English-French speaking personnel. Foreign exchange operations are handled Monday-Friday between 10.30a.m. -12.30p.m., but tourists can change money at other times at any of the small currency exchangers on the main road, which are perfectly legal. International visitors should be aware that travelers’ cheques and credit cards are not always accepted here.
Chtaura, in fact, is an excellent place to stop for lunch and sample the delicious national dishes of Lebanon in friendly restaurants (Zahleh, halfway between Chtaura and Baalbeck, is famous for its river-bank cafes).