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Currency in Costa Rica

Illinois
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Currency in Costa Rica

Hello

We'll be going to Costa Rica next week! We're very excited :)

But we are wondering, what currency do they take in Costa Rica? Do US dollars work or should we convert to the currency of the country? What's the best thing to do? Where do we convert it if we need to?

Thank you all!

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Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Central America
Punta Uva, Costa...
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1. Re: Currency in Costa Rica

Bring a few dollars and use them, then take out colones from ATMs available all over the country as needed,

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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2. Re: Currency in Costa Rica

We've had dollars readily accepted everywhere we've gone. You'll sometimes get a better rate if you use colones though. Be aware that restaurants usually include a 10% tip in the bill. If you use US dollars, it's usually best to use nothing higher than a $20.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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3. Re: Currency in Costa Rica

One short advice...do not exchange money in US...they pay terrible exchange rate...do it once in Costa Rica!r

Luis

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Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Central America
Antigua, Guatemala
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4. Re: Currency in Costa Rica

Hi,

I would change over about $200 this way you can go to the sodas, the local eateries, which prefer colones. Plus, if you want to buy souvenirs it's always easier to get a better price with local currency.

Hope this helps,

Marina K. Villatoro

Costa Rica
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5. Re: Currency in Costa Rica

I always give this advice: if the price is in dollars, pay in dollars. If the price is in colones, pay in colones. Typically, hotels and tours will be priced in dollars and restaurants, stores, taxis and buses in colones. There are ATM's in the airport where you can get some colones - $200 that Marina recommended is a good amount .(Do this before you go to immigration - Migracion - there is one close to the Cinnabon.) If you pay everywhere in dollars, you will not get a good exchange rate and over the life of your trip could be as much as a dinner. Atm's are plentiful so it is easy to get cash when you need it. I always make a little "cheat sheet" showing the various amounts - $5, $10,$15, etc, and the equivalents in colones so you can see right away what you are spending when you pay with colones or are looking at prices.

Manuel Antonio
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6. Re: Currency in Costa Rica

I thought I would add a few more things to the excellent advice you have received so far.......many places do not accept $100 bills, so bring your dollars in smaller denominations or you will have to change them at the bank. Also, Visa is the card more widely accepted in CR and not all places accept credit cards. Other than that, you will see that colones and USD are readily accepted everywhere. Enjoy!

Illinois
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7. Re: Currency in Costa Rica

Is there somewhere to exchange US money into Colones in the San Jose airport?

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San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Illinois
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8. Re: Currency in Costa Rica

Hi Marina,

Where did you exchange the US $ into Colones? In US or CR? Is there a place to exchange them in the San Jose airport?

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San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Illinois
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9. Re: Currency in Costa Rica

Hi

Thanks for the advice :) So is it safe to use the ATMs in CR? Would you request the money in US dollars and they change them to Colones and give them to you through the machine?

Thanks

Winnipeg, Canada
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for Costa Rica
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10. Re: Currency in Costa Rica

Roshi,

If you even find Colones in the US, the rate you get them at will be bad.

One tip, do not change money at the place called Global Currency Exchange at SJO airport just past the baggage claim area Their rates are very bad. If you are changing, you get better rates at a real bank. There is at least one at SJO but it is not past customs - the point where you usually start thinking about changing money. There is an ATM in the baggage claim area.

If you use an ATM, you might as well get some colones. Some machines dispense only colones and some do dispense both USD and colones. But at least to me, the whole point of using the local ATMs is to get local currency without standing in bank lines to exchane USD.

basically ATMs in CR are like anywhere else. You can have issues - like them being down or our of money. Also. not all cards will work in all machines. Don't try too many times or the machine will eat your card. But in general they are fine to use.

Pura vida

raquel

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Juan Santamaria Intl Airport
Juan Santamaria Intl...
San Jose, Costa Rica