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Can you pay in US dollars at grocery stores/markets?

Los Angeles...
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Can you pay in US dollars at grocery stores/markets?

I am wondering if we should exchange american dollars before going to costa rica or are we able to pay in us dollars?

thanks a bunch :)

Costa Rica
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1. Re: Can you pay in US dollars at grocery stores/markets?

You can pay in US dollars. However, it's really best to have some dollars and some colones. There are ATM's all over Costa Rica and from many of them, you can get either dollars or colones.

My advice is always: If the price is in dollars, pay in dollars. If the price is in colones, pay in colones.

Changing dollars into colones in Chicago is the worst option - you will get a horrible exchange rate.

Pittsburgh...
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2. Re: Can you pay in US dollars at grocery stores/markets?

In most cases,when you pay in dollars you`ll receive your change in colones.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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3. Re: Can you pay in US dollars at grocery stores/markets?

You can exchange dollars here at the banks or at your hotel. Some grocery shops will take US$, but on small bills.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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4. Re: Can you pay in US dollars at grocery stores/markets?

Do not worry they will take your good old dollars...just be sure of the exchange rate...

roadadisor

5. Re: Can you pay in US dollars at grocery stores/markets?

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Grecia, Costa Rica
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for Province of Alajuela
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6. Re: Can you pay in US dollars at grocery stores/markets?

I'm with Cajun traveler on this one. When in Rome indeed.

If you pay in dollars you have a snowballs chance in (insert word) of getting a fair exchange rate in return. The shop owners, restaurants, or any store are under no obligation to honor that days exchange rate set by the bank, and will use this to their advantage every time.

It's simple, if a price is in dollars (rarely) then pay in that currency, if it's in colones, use colones. Most things on the ground outside of the immediate tourism trade will be listed in colones.

Cheers

Dominical, Costa...
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7. Re: Can you pay in US dollars at grocery stores/markets?

I'm going to answer the specific question asked and not the more general underlying issue of dollars vs colones.

In Dominical, and in nearby Uvita, the larger grocery stores (B&M Markets, Plazas Pacifica, and others) have computerized cash registers that calculate your cost in colones. If you want to pay with dollars they hit the dollar conversion button and the register then displays the price in dollars. Then you can pay in dollars - nothing larger than a $20 bill. You will get your change in colones. The cash register is updated each day with the current exchange rate.

Over my years in the area, I have often asked what the rate is just to verify that it is fair and I have never found the rate to be significantly different from what I would get if I walked over to the bank and stood in line to change my dollars into colones. I don't know if this holds true for gas stations or restaurants (since I use colones in these venues), so my contrarian response is limited to the grocery store question.

I think the clerks are accustomed to tourists and know they might be confused. I've seen them turn the screen to be sure it is easy to read and offer a hand calculator if a customer wanted to check the math.

In a smaller market or pulperia, with just a cash box and no real electronic register, you are better off paying with the local currency. Its harder for small businesses to deal with dual currency issues. And if you evidence confusion or are not paying attention, it could be possible for someone unscrupulous to skim or cheat the rate. Use your change in these places if you want. Learning to "do as the romans do" is the best part of international travel, of course.

So, I say If you stick to the larger grocery stores markets you will have no problems using dollars ($20 or less) and getting a fair exchange rate.

Calgary, Canada
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8. Re: Can you pay in US dollars at grocery stores/markets?

If paying for a larger bill like a hotel say $100USD quoted price is there any problem paying with $50 bills or do businesses in CR require smaller bills?

Costa Rica
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9. Re: Can you pay in US dollars at grocery stores/markets?

If paying cash for a larger bill such as a hotel bill, most hotels will accept a $50. The problem has been when a rash of counterfeit bills have been found. I haven't heard much about this lately, however.

If you do bring US dollars, make sure they are in good condition with no tears or writing.

canadiancook
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2 posts
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10. Re: Can you pay in US dollars at grocery stores/markets?

Is there an issue with paying with credit cards at grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants?