Final countdown, are my P's and Q's in order?

Aug 15th, 2006, 05:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 17
Final countdown, are my P's and Q's in order?

Well, we are less than a week from our travel to Costa Rica. Excited? Absolutely. However I thought I might post here some final thoughts...

We are going for a week, staying at Bahia Del Sol the entire time. We've not booked any adventures as everyone I have spoken to in CR has said it's not an issue.

I would like to nail down some final money questions. I was planning on bringing cash but when you begin looking at that much money it's a lot of $20's. Should I bring a few $100, some $50's, etc.?

I believe the going advice is to not bother with getting money converted as most places give a favorable exchange rate?

Gonna love the new travel restrictions.. gotta iron those out with the airline so I can avoid hassles.

Finally, if I want to bring stuff back what should I consider?

Gah!!!! thanks!
randyf25 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 06:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
I can imagine you are very excited and hope you have a wonderful time! We really like the looks of Bahia del Sol--you'll enjoy the little German bakery and restaurant katy cornered across the road.

As for the $$, you can take $50's and $100's, but most businesses prefer the smaller bills. That may be changing, however. We took a few $100's with us this past summer and didn't have any trouble at all except one place that would not accept any of the "C" series $100's. Several businesses now have little scanners and they are able to check the larger bills out quickly. Be careful where you spend the $100's, however, as we used one at a gas station last year and the attendant who returned the change in colones charged us an exchange rate! We couldn't figure out why we received back less than we should have, and that was the explanation!

Something interesting happened to us, also, this year. We had gotten about $300 in colones at a bank in Liberia. At the entrance to Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja we used one of the 10,000 colones bills for the entrance fee. The park ranger ran it through a scanner and informed us that it was counterfeit. And it had come from the bank! We were able to use it at a gas station the next day, so didn't get stuck with it. Perhaps it ended up back at the bank.

Well, enough of that. .back to you. .
just for your info, there is a bank very close to where you will be (Playa Flamingo) and you should have good luck doing business there without long waits. They'll give you money (should you have trouble with ATMs)OR change $$ to colones for you, of course. To us, it seems easier to use colones, but you can certainly use US$ everywhere very easily. You'll get change back in colones.

Also, there there are plenty of ATM's in Tamarindo (about 30 min. away). Last year a new Bank of San Jose ATM opened there, and it always works for us when others sometimes fail.

Be sure your bills are in good condition. Take plenty of 5's and 1's for tips and incidentals.

Good luck with traveling "as it is" these days! At least you'll have some good Pura Vida time in between airport hassles! Buen viaje, and be sure and share the pura vida on Fodor's when you return!
shillmac is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 06:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
By the way, if you like coffee or have friends and family who do, it's a good bet for purchasing. You can do it at the airport as you leave (and they will even ship it for you) which is very convenient, but way more expensive. The supermarkets are a good place to buy it for less $$. Cafe Britt, Cafe Volio both excellent brands.
shillmac is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 08:21 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 17
Thanks for the tips. I plan on bringing one of my credit cards with me that allows for cash advances with no fee, etc. It's rather nice. I can also bring my regular ATM card.

I guess some of it I will just play be ear and I'll run with it!

And I am looking forward to the coffee!
randyf25 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
It's all easy--nothing to worry about ahead of time. Have a fabulous trip!
shillmac is offline  
Aug 17th, 2006, 12:19 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 92
I've been to CR twice and have never had more that $2 worth of colones on me at any time. We bring lots (about $100) of new crisp singles, $5's, $10's and $20's. Just manage your spending well (include credit cards) and you will never have to change any money or get stuck with colones.
RHR is offline  
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