The local currency is known as the colón. Don't bother getting colones before your trip; it's difficult, and the exchange rate outside Costa Rica will be abysmal. However, there are currency exchange booths in the international arrivals terminal of San José's Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría. The baggage-claim area also has an automatic teller machine that dispenses both dollars and colones.
Most ATMs (cajero automático) are linked to both the Cirrus and the Plus networks, so they can be used by holders of most U.S.-issued debit and credit cards. Make sure before you leave that your PIN has four numbers, as most machines don't accept longer ones.
Credit cards are accepted by almost all businesses catering to tourists. Because businesses are charged a hefty fee for credit-card purchases, some will add a small surcharge or impose a minimum purchase amount if you use plastic. It's always a good idea to ask beforehand.
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