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Do you use Colones or USD?

Landisville...
Level Contributor
523 posts
303 reviews
119 helpful votes
Do you use Colones or USD?

Have been to CR over 10 times but always wonder if we should use Colones. We typically only use USD. Any opinion?

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
54,169 posts
122 reviews
23 helpful votes
1. Re: Do you use Colones or USD?

My own personal opinion...exchange your USD into COLONES at a local bank once inside of Costa Rica...you will get a good exchange rate...

Some hotels, tour operators, restaurants, stores, gas stations...etc...will pay terrible low exchange rates...for example if the exchange rate is 500 colones per dollar they will try to pay you sometimes 475.00 colones per dollar...

roadadvisor

Philadelphia...
Destination Expert
for Playa Conchal
Level Contributor
1,653 posts
41 reviews
35 helpful votes
2. Re: Do you use Colones or USD?

In any country I visit, I hit the ATM for local currency whenever possible - My card charges only 1% over the official exchange rate, so its not a cost concern. My feeling is that you want to have the local feel, and local respect for their currency is part of that. The trick is to plan out the right amount not to be left with more than some spare change for my international coin fishbowl.

Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Sarapiqui
Level Contributor
8,217 posts
150 reviews
122 helpful votes
3. Re: Do you use Colones or USD?

Pay for hotels in dollars, gas in colones.

It's good to have both--the dollars you can take back with you, and the colones are useful in areas that don't take dollars or (more likely) give you a really crummy exchange rate.

Landisville...
Level Contributor
523 posts
303 reviews
119 helpful votes
4. Re: Do you use Colones or USD?

You all were wonderful....thank you. Think we will pick up some colones at a local bank. Had planned to bring colones from home but know that the rate will be absolutely horrible. Thanks.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
126 posts
5. Re: Do you use Colones or USD?

Definitely colones!! The exchange rate varies on a daily basis, so you can never be quite sure if you're getting ripped off or not if you're always using dollars. Some places are fair, some are not. Using colones is just one more way to make sure you're getting the most for your money!

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
54,169 posts
122 reviews
23 helpful votes
6. Re: Do you use Colones or USD?

You are welcome...feel free to ask any question any time...

roadadvsior

Miami Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
127 posts
7. Re: Do you use Colones or USD?

I always get the local currency from the ATM. If you bank with HSBC they have locations and ATMs in CR to avoid the ATM fees.

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
24 reviews
29 helpful votes
8. Re: Do you use Colones or USD?

If you pay in dollars when something is priced in colones, you will not get the "going rate" for exchange. Some places will give you less than others. Example: You pay for your hotel in colones. The price is $100 and the exchange rate at the bank is 505. However, the hotel will figure it at 500 because it can change overnight and by the time they get to the bank and deposit your colones, they may actually lose money.

Of course, there are some that may tend to take advantage of you and give you a very poor exchange rate.

Really, it's better to either pay everything in colones or just pay in dollars things that are priced in dollars and pay in colones things that are priced in colones.

Bermuda
Destination Expert
for Bermuda
Level Contributor
3,742 posts
30 reviews
15 helpful votes
9. Re: Do you use Colones or USD?

i use colones nearly exclusively because...i'm in costa rica and it's the respectful thing to do. also it's easier because i don't have to figure out exchange rates. i don't want to do math on vacation and have to keep track of the constantly fluctuating exchange rate every time i buy something. i have a pretty good idea of what i spend daily and take about 3 days worth of money out of the atm but remember some places have lots of atms and some have none so plan accordingly.

10. Re: Do you use Colones or USD?

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