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Costa rican money exchange

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Toronto, Canada
posts: 55
reviews: 6
Costa rican money exchange

I am planning to have some colones and some us dollars. Where is it better to get the exchange rate for colones? Here in Toronto, Canada or in San jose?

Grecia, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Province of Alajuela
posts: 6,331
reviews: 36
1. Re: Costa rican money exchange

Best exchange will be in banks here in Costa Rica. You can get some in the airport at an ATM to start with. Do not exchange anything at the small kiosks in the airport, exchange rate is horrible.

Cheers

Tampa, FL
Destination Expert
for San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 2,011
reviews: 1
2. Re: Costa rican money exchange

To clarify Incabod's post, the small kiosk that he is referring to is the first one you'll see after you arrive near the baggage claim area on the arrival level. This is a booth dedicated solely to money exchange and if you know anything about currency exchange you should know that it is a complete rip-off even without knowing what the correct exchange rate should be simply because of the wide spread it posts between "buy" and "sell" (or "bid" and "asked") which should not be more than 3-4% (that kiosk is typically more like 15% as I recall). Unfortunately, many tourists don't know about this and are too often taken in. There is also a full-service bank booth UPSTAIRS at the far right side of the departure level which offers the exact same exchange rates as you'll find at any of their regular branches AND, if you're exchanging dollars rather than doing an ETF or cash advance with your ATM card, without any other bank fees as you'd probably get if you use an ATM.

Edited: 4:04 pm, April 14, 2011
San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 40,355
3. Re: Costa rican money exchange

Wait and exchange your money at any local bank once inside of the country...you will get the best exchange rate!

roadadvisor

Tampa, FL
Destination Expert
for San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 2,011
reviews: 1
4. Re: Costa rican money exchange

Luis, have you ever used the bank booth UPSTAIRS at the airport? I'm telling you the rates there are exactly the same as they are at their local branches throughout the country and, unless you get there during the lunch hour rush, you also rarely get the wait that you often find at many local banks inside the country. You might advise others to wait to exchange currency for other reasons but don't perpetuate this misconception that ALL the booths at the airport have worse rates than the banks because that is not really the case.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 55
reviews: 6
5. Re: Costa rican money exchange

Ok so i guess the best way is to use the ATM inside the airport. thanks guys

Lake Havasu City...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
posts: 6,716
reviews: 5
6. Re: Costa rican money exchange

Using the ATMs in the baggage claim area is easy and safe, they charge you about $2.00 US for every 50,000 colones($100) withdrawn.

Hamilton, Canada
posts: 1
reviews: 41
7. Re: Costa rican money exchange

Can you use both CAD Debit (bank) cards and credit cards at the ATM?

Costa Rica
posts: 20,777
reviews: 24
8. Re: Costa rican money exchange

You can use both debit and credit cards at the ATM.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 40,355
9. Re: Costa rican money exchange

Just to clarify...exchange rates can vary from bank to bank...most of the time is just pennies...but not the same at the same time at all banks...that is mainly the reason I advice to exchange money once you in Costs Rica...for me is not a big dealo...but maybe is good to answer the question ask by Greg!!!

roadadvisor

Boulder, Colorado
posts: 196
reviews: 18
10. Re: Costa rican money exchange

Am I missing a new, higher fee for using ATM at Santa Maria? OR is there indeed a fee difference between the two airport levels???

Last month I used my debit card at the ATM, not at baggage claim area but at the machine next to the booths to pay departure tax.

I was charged one percent, not the two percent mentioned earlier in this thread.

Also I use a credit union card which provides an extremely favorable exchange rate and one percent fee.

So I ended up paying fees of one percent here and one percent there.