Any advice on bringing $ to Costa?

Old May 16th, 2005, 06:37 AM
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Any advice on bringing $ to Costa?

Unsure what to do about money in costa rica. *Should we bring a bunch of cash to the airport and exchange it for colones?
*Should we get travelers cheques?
*Can we rely soley on credit cards and ATMs? We'll be staying in Mal Pais, then Arenal, then La Paz. Any advice is appreciated.
goingtoCR is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 09:37 AM
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You can change $$$ for Colones at the airport. CC's are accepted at most hotels and many restaurants. Smaller lunch counters ("sodas") will want Colones. Most hotels will accept travellers checks as well and some will cash them for their clients. Banks will exchange them for a small fee. ATMs in CR mostly want VISA cards connected with the Plus+ system. I don't know personally about ATMs in MP; I'm sure you will find them in the Arenal area. You are on the right track - we usually take a mixture of all 3 forms of money.
dncee11 is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 09:50 AM
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Not sure about Mal Pais, but everywhere around Arenal and La Paz took dollars. We never exchanged our money. Most places you can ask for your change back in colones if you want to have some on hand just in case. That's what we did.
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Old May 16th, 2005, 12:22 PM
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Like dnc11, we also take all 3 forms-- usually. Travelers' cheques we take to hotels who have agreed ahead of time to accept that form of payment. Sometimes we don't mess with them at all.

MalPais--dollars are widely accepted as they are everywhere. Using them is no problem at all. Recommend small bills in excellent condition. $50's and $100's are not well received! Take a large supply of $1's for tipping.

We prefer to use colones simply because it seems easier to pay for everything in the local currency and not having to constantly be converting in our heads or carrying some type of converter card!

So we take just a little cash to start up with, then get to an ATM fairly soon upon arrival and stock up on colones. It has worked very well.
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Old May 16th, 2005, 12:26 PM
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We just got back from Arenal and Malpais. We went with a couple hundred in cash. Mainly because we wanted to pay for some hotels in cash as well as food, gas, etc.

I don't remember if there was an ATM in Malpais but there was one in Cobano. We stopped at the bank there to take more money out. When we withdrew money we just got it in colones at that point.

We didn't take any traveller's check. I think the only time we used our credit card was to pay the hotel in Arenal and in Montezuma and the rental car. Everything else in cash or colones.
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Old May 16th, 2005, 02:12 PM
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The exchange counter in San Jose airport gave us a lousy rate for our USD. Don't change much if any there. Restaurant's gave us a very good rate when paying for meals with USD. The change they gave was plenty for when when we needed it.
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