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Exchanging USD for Colones

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New York City, New...
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Exchanging USD for Colones

We're going to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica next week. Do they generally prefer to be paid in colones or do they also like USD? The best currency rates are offered in the country that you're going to, correct? How many colones can we squeak by with for a day or two before hitting one of the 2 (eek!) ATMs there? Thanks!

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Exchanging USD for Colones

You can bring both, but its 500 C to the USD $1, so 100,000 C will last 3-5 days...

Costa Rica
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2. Re: Exchanging USD for Colones

Most places will accept either dollars or colones. The exchange rate is hovering around 492 to the dollar. How many you will need will depend on what you spend, really.

You can get colones at an ATM at the airport. Don't bother exchanging dollars at the airport or getting them from a bank in New York. You will get a horrible exchange rate.

If you bring US dollars, bring mostly 20's and smaller and make sure the bills are in good condition - no tears or writing. You can bring some 50's or 100's to pay big-ticket items such as your lodging, but otherwise, most places won't accept either 50's or 100's.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Exchanging USD for Colones

So helpful, thank you both!!!!!

San Jose, California
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for California
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4. Re: Exchanging USD for Colones

We used a mix of US$ and colones. Had US$ with us and got colones from the ATM. I generally like to use the local currency, but people seemed fine with both. I was even given change back in US$ a few times.

Vancouver, BC
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5. Re: Exchanging USD for Colones

There is also an ATM in Playa Carmen...

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Exchanging USD for Colones

Dont count on 1 lonely ATM to have money, be working, or could knocked off line...

Santa Teresa, Costa...
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for Mal Pais, Santa Teresa
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7. Re: Exchanging USD for Colones

It is common for the ATM to run out of cash....so don't count on them to have money when you need it....be prepared.

Dearborn, Michigan
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8. Re: Exchanging USD for Colones

In that area most places will be fine with either (but don't bring anything larger than $20 bills). But I always think it's better to work in local currencies, you don't need to pay attention to the exchange rate.

They have a few ATMs in Santa Teresa. Most have a button for english, but you might want to have your spanish book handy just in case.

There are a few ATMs in the luggage area at the SJO airport (but they get turned off after 9 or 10pm) and I've always had good success with the one at the far end (closer to where you leave).

It seems weird telling a machine you want $100,000.00 but that's only around $200. I'm never clear what the maximum is, so I always have to do a few transactions to get a lot.

Gary

Huntsville, Canada
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9. Re: Exchanging USD for Colones

I carry around a little cheat card converting dollars to colones that way I can compare prices and do transactions at ATM. I know in Canada if you go the the bank to get colones they look at you as if you had two heads. Not worth the hassle. Just bring a few hundred US and when CR at airport use the ATM for eithert US or Colones. For Canadians Bank of Nova Scotia and HSBC are very popular machines. Avoid the exchange kiosks at airports. TIP: If you go directly into a bank in CR be prepared for very long lineups and bring your passport for ID.

10. Re: Exchanging USD for Colones

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