Traveling to Costa Rica, Not Taking a Credit Card, How To Pay
We are planning to travel to Costa Rica but do not have a credit card. But do have a debit card from our hometown bank. Can I use this debit card in Costa Rica? Are travelers checks widely accepted?
ATM machines in Costa Rica take the debit card. However, I have encountered ATM machines that were not in good working order. Do other businesses take debit cards? Depends on the business. Some of my tourist clients tell me they had no problem using their debit cards, and others have told me that no they could not use their debit card.
Travelers checks: Many places will accept travelers check, but will charge a fee to do so. But some businesses do not accept them. So: to be sure, I recommend that you check with your hotel or tour company ahead of time. You will need to show your passport to cash the travelers checks. The reason some businesses will not accept travelers checks is that it takes several weeks for this money to show up in their bank’s account.
The hotel may charge a small fee for accepting the travelers checks in Costa Rica because it costs them to process the check through their bank.
In summary, I recommend that you take part of your money in travelers checks and part in cash. Use a money belt (under your clothes) for cash and passport. Keep small amount money in a pocket so you don’t have to get out the money belt in public.
Practice ahead of time changing from dollars into colones (Costa Rica money) www.amcostarica.com an online English language newspaper posts daily the official exchange rate. To make it easier take a 3×5 card and write $1= x colones $2 $5 $10 $20 = x colones
Biggest scams I’ve seen is not getting back the correct change in colones. Taxi drivers, store owners,etc (not all but some) know that we get confused when we try to change money, so they may take advantage of you.
Ann welcomes questions and comments. At end of the post you will see no comments (click on it) or it may say reply.