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Currency

Newcastle Ontario...
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200 posts
30 reviews
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Currency

What is the best currency to use in Costa Rica? I am Canadian, is it better to use US Dollars or Costa Rican Colon, are prices in stores, marked in both currency? I have traveled in Mexico extensively and my experience there is that most stores, taxi's, businesses would rather have their Mexican Peso as they have to change the US dollar back to peso and lose money on the exchange!!! As a consumer/tourist in Mexico at least it is usually more advantages for me to pay in peso than in USA currency, some help is appreciated, thanks

Richmond, Virginia
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50 posts
3 reviews
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1. Re: Currency

Colons would be your best choice. You can pay in US Dollars, almost everywhere, but the exchange rate wouldn't be to your advantage. Another option is to use your credit card. I used the one from Capital One, and the exchange rate was just slightly worse than the one I could get for cash exchange in a Costa Rican bank. Bottom line, you will save money if you have CR currency, especially in street markets.

Costa Rica
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25,654 posts
25 reviews
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2. Re: Currency

Very few things are priced in both currencies. Hotels and tours are typically priced in dollars as well as a few restaurants- but- everything else is priced in colones.

Good advice from vladushka. Having some colones to pay for things is the best way to go. You can use an ATM or exchange US dollars at a bank for the best rate. Very few banks will exchange Canadian currency and it will depend on where you are in the country.

Newcastle Ontario...
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200 posts
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3. Re: Currency

Thanks to you both for the advise, I plan on exchanging some in Canada to Colones before i come down, thanks again

Canada
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3,877 posts
67 reviews
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4. Re: Currency

No, don't exchange in Canada. Just bring some US $ and exchange it at a bank (not the exchange booth) or just withdrawal colones from an atm in Costa Rica. You will get a much better rate. There is a bank at the departure level at SJO and an atm at arrivals near the baggage claim area.

Punta Uva, Costa...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
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6,874 posts
10 reviews
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5. Re: Currency

Best to wait till you get to Costa Rica. I like using ATM for Colones and using credit card whenever possible, my cards don't have a foreign fee and the rates are very competitive. For safety reasons, i don't like to carry too much cash on me whenever I travel to a foreign country.

Montreal, Canada
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407 posts
25 reviews
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6. Re: Currency

Don't change in Canada, the banks here will give you a horrible rate.

Bring multiple ATM cards if you have, and it's probably a good idea to notify them you're going to CR. My BMO card wouldn't work with 3 different ATM's and my Scotiabank card worked with one of the three.

Otherwise, you can exchange USD at a bank there, or just use your credit card. All better options than exchanging in Canada.

Newcastle Ontario...
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200 posts
30 reviews
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7. Re: Currency

Thanks all for the input, not sure if it is very cost advantage to convert Canadian dollars to USA dollars (pay the exchange for that) and then pay the exchange again in Costa Rica to change USA dollars to Colones????, I got to believe it would be better just to change some Canadain to Colones to have some money to take down and then use the atm's in Costa Rica to obtain Colones as needed, but I am not sure about that, anyone know what the exchange rate is in CR for the American dollar? thanks

Kingman, Arizona
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2,717 posts
24 reviews
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8. Re: Currency

the exchange rate is constantly changing ... when you walk into a bank, the current rate will be posted digitally...

As of now at banco san jose the current rate is 535 colones to a US dollar

Banks here will change Canadian dollars for colones but it can be time consuming depending on the line in the bank .. you'll need your passport for any bank transaction... ATM's here are common and the cash advance fees vary by bank.

pura vida and enjoy,

Randy

Canada
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3,877 posts
67 reviews
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9. Re: Currency

Follow the advice of everyone who has answered you. Your Canadian bank will have to order colones. An exchange booth will screw you. Follow the advice provided please.

Edited: 10 September 2014, 01:44
Grosse Pointe...
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221 posts
185 reviews
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10. Re: Currency

How much worse is the exchange at the exchange booth as compared to a bank/ATM.

Are their many ATM machines around?

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