Traveling to Costa Rica? Tips on Handling Money

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Traveling to Costa Rica?  Tips on Handling Money

Are you planning on traveling to Costa Rica?  Costaricalearn is going to offer some tips on handling money. Don’t change dollars to colones  which is the Costa Rica monetary unit  BEFORE leaving your home country.   Change it when you arrive to Costa Rica but DON’T  change it in the airport because the exchange rate is poor.  Taxi drivers will allow you to pay them in dollars from the airport to your hotel.  Just be sure you have small  bills on you so you don’t get confused when the taxi driver gives you change in colones.  Good tip is:  write on a 3×5 card the exchange rate for $1  $5   $10  $20   $50  $100   That way you can quickly figure it in your head.

The front desk of your hotel will change a small amount of your money into colones, usually $50  at  a rate close to the official exchange rate at the bank.  So I go ahead and change this much at my hotel.  Then I ask at the hotel front desk  directions to the nearest bank.  If it is within walking distance sometime later I go to the bank and change some more money at the official bank rate.

I never carry a large sum of  cash money around with me, and I carry it in a money pouch-under my clothes.

If you are shopping in a central market for crafts etc.  you can ask for a 10% discount by paying in  cash colones

Some places will surcharge you up to 6%  for paying with a credit card.   An example of this is small hotels,  so it’s better to pay them in cash.  Best thing is to ask ahead of time-when you make your reservation.  So there are no surprises.

American Express credit card is NOT accepted everywhere in Costa Rica so be aware of this.  Mastercard and Visa  are more widely accepted.

ATM machines?  Yes you can find them.  At the major banks and in areas where there is heavy tourism.  However, they are closed at night for security reasons and I have heard stories of the ATM machines not working.  The ones located adjacent to the banks almost always work, so those are your best bet.

Debit cards?  I have tourist tell me that yes they were able to use a debit card, but on the other hand ,  they  tell me that in some stores they were unable to use a debit card.

Traveler’s checks?  You can change these at major banks but there is a fee involved.   Hotels that take travelers checks also charge a fee.    And there are hotels which simply will not take travelers checks  SO check with your hotel before leaving home.

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