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Should we exchange money prior to going to CR

Chicago, Illinois
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21 posts
4 reviews
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Should we exchange money prior to going to CR

I am looking for feedback from other trip advisor users. Should I exchange money, or bring US$ ?

I am not sure where to exchange the money here in the US, so I think I would have to do it in Costa Rica. What the is the best way to go about that?

Thank you.

Spokane, Washington
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10,456 posts
42 reviews
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1. Re: Should we exchange money prior to going to CR

Please don't exchange before you come the rates here are so much better plus there is no need to, US$ are welcome nearly everywhere of all the places we went no one asked for colones although I did exchange some US for colones. When exchanging do so at a bank you can get better returns. As many of the DA's will tell you don't exchange at the airport the rates are terrible.

Collie

San Jose, Costa Rica
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46,448 posts
35 reviews
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2. Re: Should we exchange money prior to going to CR

Totally agree with Colliegirl...do not exchange any money in your country of origin...they will pay you terrible fares...bring USD and exchange them once inside our country!

roadadvsior

Playa Guiones...
Destination Expert
for Nosara
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2,229 posts
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3. Re: Should we exchange money prior to going to CR

Totally agree with Collie and roadadvisor. Do not exchange before coming, and don't bring a TON of cash for your entire vacation. You will most likely get change for what you do carry in colones, and ATM's can be found when you run short.

Playa Guiones...
Destination Expert
for Nosara
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2,229 posts
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4. Re: Should we exchange money prior to going to CR

I should also add that you will have more options for ATM's that use VISA, not Mastercard.

Costa Rica
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25,654 posts
25 reviews
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5. Re: Should we exchange money prior to going to CR

With the new Credomatic system, I am seeing a lot of ATM's that take both Visa and Mastercard. I have Mastercard and have not found an ATM that won't take it.

US dollars are welcome here but you don't know what kind of exchange rate you will get. Plus it can be aggravating at a shop or grocery store when they have to stop and call the manager to find out what to use for the exchange rate and then figure it all out. You will get change in colones anyway.

I always recommend having some dollars and some colones. If the price is in dollars, pay in dollars - typically this will be hotels and tours. If the price is in colones, pay in colones - typically this will be restaurants, shops, grocery stores, taxis, buses.

There are ATM's at the airport which is the best way to get some colones as you enter the country. You can pay for many things with a credit card but the merchant will often charge an additional fee - 5% or more.

Edited: 04 March 2011, 12:18
New York City, New...
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357 posts
87 reviews
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6. Re: Should we exchange money prior to going to CR

I did not exchange any money at all. We were able to pay dollars even at the local supermarkets. Yes, the advice to pay in $ when the price is $ and colones when it is colones is good but unless you are going to spend a lot of time in CR or are counting every penny it will just give you a headache! Or you might end up like our friends struggling to spend their colones on the last days so they do not have to exchange them back to $. Although I saw much concern on the forum about credit cards my experience was that they were widely accepted in most large tourist areas.

Chicago, Illinois
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21 posts
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7. Re: Should we exchange money prior to going to CR

Thanks everyone, your comments were very helpful.

guanacaste
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3,091 posts
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8. Re: Should we exchange money prior to going to CR

the worst rate that you will get is in the airport

exchange at banks

Edited: 04 March 2011, 16:48
Centennial, Colorado
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101 posts
4 reviews
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9. Re: Should we exchange money prior to going to CR

Does anyone have any feedback about American Express? That is my main card so is Visa or Mastercard better? Also, when you use an ATM, do you get dollars or colones? Thanks so much.

New York City, New...
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357 posts
87 reviews
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10. Re: Should we exchange money prior to going to CR

There are ATM's that you can choose US Dollars or colones.

Ask the places you plan to go to hotels, tours, rent a car ,if they accept the American Express. Bring a VISA just in case.