We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Currency

Winnipeg, Canada
Level Contributor
12 posts
37 reviews
Save Topic
Currency

We are leaving for Playa Samara in less than two weeks and are unsure exactly what to do in regards to currency. Are US dollars widely accepted? Is it imperative that we have colons? I have heard that we can use US currency but will receive change in colons which is fine. Just curious if we will find that we are having trouble if we do not take any colons and just use our "change" for tipping etc

Any suggestions or information would be helpful.

Playa Guiones...
Destination Expert
for Nosara
Level Contributor
2,263 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Currency

Don't worry. You can use Dollars and will get change in Colones in most cases. Don't take any large bill's as many don't accept $100 or even $50, accept some hotels and rental cars. If you are more comfortable with Colones, you can use the ATM's to get colones.

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,654 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Currency

US dollars are widely accepted.

Don't use any US coins for tipping - they can't be exchanged in Costa Rica.

But yes, use your colones for tips, etc.

I usually advise this: If the price is in dollars, pay in dollars. Typically, this will be tours, hotels, rental cars, shuttles. If the price is in colones, pay in colones. Typically, this will be restaurants, shops, supermarkets, taxis.

It's handy to have some of both so you can just pay in whatever currency the item is priced and not worry about exchange rate, etc. You can change dollars at a bank or get some colones from any ATM.

~~~
Destination Expert
for Richmond
Level Contributor
1,704 posts
202 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Currency

You will be fine on low denomination US currency. Do not use $50 or $100 bills. Like you said, you will receive change in colones, and likely won't get the best "exchange" rate, but as long as you are getting a little over 500-1 you will be fine. It's always nice to have some colones on you... and it's very easy to exchange some dollars at a bank.

Canada
Level Contributor
4,041 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Currency

Normally I would agree with all the above posters, but with the Canadian dollar worth only 90 cents US right now, I would withal colonies from the ATM at arrivals and forget about US currency and getting burned on the exchange. (Different story for someone from the USA) If you have colones left over at the end of your trip exchange them for US at the bank at SJO departures and back to Canadian when you get back to Winterpeg and you will win!

Edited: 18 March 2014, 17:29
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
2,370 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Currency

I have to agree with the last poster as well. Do not take american dollars. I bank with Scotiabank at home and the ATM service charge was $5, so just be careful that you are not using it too much. I have been there 4 times and never taken USD. I am a firm believer that you should use local currency no matter where you travel!

Winnipeg, Canada
Level Contributor
12 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Currency

I'm worried about the bank fees... I'll have to look into that. It sucks having such a weak dollar right now. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, there's no flights from Winnipeg to Costa Rica, and with spring break we will be flying out of Fargo due to costs of flying out of Canada. We have US overnight layovers both there and back... for that reason, I'll still need SOME US dollars.

Canada
Level Contributor
13 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Currency

We took CDN money with us and exchanged it to Colones at the bank in Liberia when we arrived. We also took some American cash with us. We have an American bank account with attached Visa's, so we used those when we could to avoid the exchange. We only had to go the the bank in Costa Rica once after and used our Royal Bank ATM card to withdraw some extra. It didn't say at the ATM that there was a charge, and I haven't checked our bank statement yet, but don't expect it to be too much. Almost all of the "tourist" shops and places we stayed had prices listed in US dollars - but again we just used our American visa cards when we shopped/stayed. If prices were in Colones, then we used that currency.

We flew out of Winnipeg, but stayed overnight in Toronto going (Liberia). Flew back Liberia-Hoston-Toronto-Wpg with no overnight.

Hope you have a fantastic trip - we sure did!

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
2,370 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Currency

"i'm worried about the bank fees" If you cannot afford the bank fees, then you cannot afford the holiday. If you do have to budget that closely, just remember that for me it was about 5 dollars, do if you are using the bank machine 10 times or so, then yes it is a concern, get a little more than you need each time and consider it just one of the costs of having a great vacation!

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,654 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Currency

Most of the high-ticket items such as hotels or excursions or rental car you can pay for with your debit/credit card as well as shopping at supermarkets and at many restaurants. Save cash for small purchases or at restaurants that don't accept cards (these are few........) or taxis or buses or tips.

Calgary, Canada
2 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Currency

I have been told by my daughter who has been there since early January that you should have some colones if you are going to be buying anything is some of the smaller centers. Most places will accept US dollars though. I also will be travelling there in a couple of weeks and had the same question and will take both USD and colones.

Enjoy your holiday!

Get answers to your questions about Province of Guanacaste