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Costa Rica money or US dollars?

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Winnipeg Canada
Destination Expert
for Winnipeg
posts: 3,302
reviews: 225
Costa Rica money or US dollars?

I wondering that currency to take on my trip to Costa Rica. I can get Costa Rica money from my bank if I pre order it . But most of the prices I have seen are in US dollar.

15 replies to this topic
Costa Rica
posts: 17,657
reviews: 24
1. Re: Costa Rica money or US dollars?

Bring US dollars. Do NOT get Costa Rican colones from your bank in Canada. No need.

What most people do is bring some US dollars and then use one of the many many ATM's available to get either more dollars or Costa Rican colones.

If your debit/credit card has a high transaction fee or you lose a lot on the exchange, then bring a few large bills in US dollars and exchange them at a bank where you will get the best rate.

Otherwise, bring smaller denominations of US dollars - $20's and smaller - and make sure they are in good shape -- no writing or tears.

Most places will accept US dollars ($20 and smaller) but I always advise this: If the price is in dollars, pay in dollars. Typically, this will be hotels and tours/excursions. If the price is in colones, pay in colones. Typically, this will be supermarkets, restaurants, shops, taxis, public bus. (Although taxi drivers will accept dollars)

Edmonton Canada
posts: 183
reviews: 28
2. Re: Costa Rica money or US dollars?

I recommend that you bring some US Dollars (small denominations), and you can pick up colones at an ATM in Costa Rica, or more USD (they dispense both currencies). For most purchases, I prefer to pay in Colones-- it IS the national currency after all. Some places list prices in USD; if so you can pay in USD but you will likely get change in colones.

~~~
Destination Expert
for Richmond
posts: 1,529
reviews: 134
3. Re: Costa Rica money or US dollars?

Just remember, when you use US currency, you are likely to get colones back in change, and that vendor may not follow the most accurate exchange rate...

US dollars are WIDELY accepted, but use colones for a more accurate transaction.

Winnipeg Canada
Destination Expert
for Winnipeg
posts: 3,302
reviews: 225
4. Re: Costa Rica money or US dollars?

Thanks for the information.

Winnipeg Canada
Destination Expert
for Winnipeg
posts: 3,302
reviews: 225
5. Re: Costa Rica money or US dollars?

Will restaurant like Starbuck etc. have their price in Costa Rica money or Us dollars?

Costa Rica
posts: 17,657
reviews: 24
6. Re: Costa Rica money or US dollars?

By law, all restaurant prices and supermarket prices and shop prices are in colones. Taxi meters are in colones. Bus prices are in colones. Specific tourist things such as tours or hotels can post their prices in dollars. Right now the conversion is pretty easy. Figure 500 colones to the dollar (it's actually around 494 but we won't quibble) so just take the price in colones, double it and take off some zeroes. Examples: 10,000 colones - $20; 3500 colones - $7, etc.

Starbucks? You are coming to Costa Rica to visit a Starbucks?

Barrie, Canada
posts: 1,499
reviews: 25
7. Re: Costa Rica money or US dollars?

Starbucks won't brew your coffee the proper way - in a sock.

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 4,918
reviews: 48
8. Re: Costa Rica money or US dollars?

Are you surprised, Hattie? After 15k + posts, you should know better. Once near Avenida Escazu, you should try their Caramel Crunch Double Grande Venti Au Lait Macchiato Strawberry-Chai Frappuccino ;))). In the meantime, I will sip my plain no sugar no milk Cafe 1820.

Winnipeg Canada
Destination Expert
for Winnipeg
posts: 3,302
reviews: 225
9. Re: Costa Rica money or US dollars?

I know the price of a cup coffee in Canada, so I can judge if the price of coffee are higher than Canada in Costa Rico. I did not say I was going to visit a Starbuck.

Barrie, Canada
posts: 1,499
reviews: 25
10. Re: Costa Rica money or US dollars?

Coffee at Starbucks is crazy expensive everywhere. Good coffee at a Tico establishment will be much less expensive than in Canada.

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