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1bhcrashman Jul 25th, 2010 09:50 AM

Sorry to highjack this thread but when you're using a Dollar bank acct to pay bills in Colones it can be a big difference. The good news is that it won't go below C500. Tully, the highest I saw it get to June was C535. Today it is at C516. Unfortunately when my bills were due in June it was C505.
We're talking the "buy" rate which is what your are doing. The "sell" rate at BCR today is C521.

hipvirgochick Jul 25th, 2010 12:16 PM

Pretty sure the exchange rate was close to 560 about 2 months ago and around 530 about a month ago when I headed that way, give or take a few days and a few colones.

1bhcrashman Jul 25th, 2010 07:29 PM

$US Compra 513.5000
$US Venta 523.5000
25/08/2010 9:28pm

hsmithcr Jul 26th, 2010 09:08 AM

1bhcrashman: are you predicting the exchange rate on August 25? haha

The exchange rate can change daily but for a few colones one way or another it really doesn't matter.

I got gas in a service station in Canas yesterday and there was a sign posted: Cambio 500 colones

So for all you folk who are determined to use dollars, you can figure it out for yourselves.

1bhcrashman Jul 26th, 2010 12:10 PM

Duh! hsmither, you're right! If I could predict the exchange rate, I'd make a few Colones. It even makes a difference Am-Pm I went to the banco this morning and it was C513.5 This afternoon C515.5.

Unless I need to be corrected again :0) I won' bother everyone with more exchange rates. I think the rain on the tin roof is getting to me. Sorry.

1bhcrashman Jul 26th, 2010 12:23 PM

Now, a response to the OP. FINALLY. I really like the vibe I got from your post as you are concerned about being respectful and not offending. This is just the way we do it for what it's worth. Taxi--round up. Hotel--bags C500 each. Housekeeping Cr500 ea day. Special services C1000-5000. we usually tip an extra 5-8% for meals. Personal Drivers C5000 per trip. Guides, C5000 ea person.
I agree with hsmither that your small tip could make a big difference to someone who works 12-14hrs per day for a small wage.

colibri Jul 26th, 2010 05:00 PM

What range of tip do you suggest for a owner/guide who takes you on a 3 day/2 night tour to Tortuguero? He seemed surprised when we tipped him (about $50 per couple) and we weren't sure if it wasn't enough or he wasn't used to it since he owns the boats, runs the company, etc.

hipvirgochick Jul 26th, 2010 08:52 PM

Wow! Colobri that sounds about right to me. $10 pp per day plus driver.

volcanogirl Jul 27th, 2010 05:01 AM

That sounds very generous to me, col.

hsmithcr Jul 27th, 2010 07:17 AM

Disagree with volcanogirl on this one. Three days and two nights? You think $25 per guest is too much? As I wrote before, I am seeing a trend of people either tipping less or not tipping at all so perhaps he was just surprised. Just because he owns the company, etc, doesn't mean that you shouldn't tip him.

I have worked as a guide and I know what goes into it. There is a lot of education, including learning English, about the culture and history of the country and the area in addition to learning about plants and animals. Not an easy thing and time-consuming. I know guides here in CR who have gone to school for a couple of years to learn all this, working on days off from school or at night to finance the whole thing. Sometimes, a whole family will come together to chip in and help support the student. Not only that, but the guide will make contact with people in the area you will be visiting so that there are smooth arrangements everywhere. The guide will check out restaurants and places to stay and pick out the best for whatever tour is on. The guide will always be thinking "OK, what can I do or say to make this better?" It's pretty exhausting work. A guide will need to "read" people when they arrive, talk a little bit and figure out what they are interested in. Do they want a lot of conversation or a little. Things like this.

It is not an easy job and a good guide has worked very hard to get to where they are now and continues to work and upgrade skills and knowledge.

Don't punish a person because they have decided to own a small company as well as guiding. This has taken a lot of initiative and probably a high-interest bank loan. In your home country, do you try to help out tiny local businesses by shopping there? Why wouldn't you want to help out a guy here who is trying to make a better life with his tiny business?

volcanogirl Jul 27th, 2010 09:08 AM

I didn't actually say it was too much. I said it was generous, perhaps a better word would have been appropriate. Personally, I don't think giving a guy a $50 tip is punishing him. We were talking to one of our guides, and he told me he makes $10 a day. An owner would inherently have profit built in to the fees he charged. Not tipping would be punitive, but fifty bucks? Not to me. What would you have done, smith?

colibri Jul 27th, 2010 11:02 AM

My $50 per couple tip was for an excellent guide who has been guiding at Tortuguero for over 20 years. We wanted to make sure we gave enough next time since he seemed so surprised last time. I wanted to get your opinions on whether it was too much or not enough so it sounds like I was ok with that amount.

hipvirgochick Jul 27th, 2010 11:12 AM

colibri - I think I know of who you speak :-) and I'm sure he was surprised at your generosity, not surprised because it was too little. Just an assumption here, but I imagine many people give 1/2 that.

Does Fodors have tipping guides in their books? I can't remember. That would be a good thing to add to the destination guides.

volcanogirl Jul 27th, 2010 11:26 AM

F & M perhaps? :)

colibri Jul 27th, 2010 11:40 AM

Yep, VG, the one and only F & M - "Mr. Tortuguero" as he's known! Can't wait to see them again in February and bringing a few more friends to introduce to the beauty of Tortuguero.

volcanogirl Jul 27th, 2010 01:03 PM

col, do you know if you have to stay in a certain lodge to use them as guides?

hipvirgochick Jul 27th, 2010 01:22 PM

colibri -- I thought so. Both F & M are great!

colibri Jul 27th, 2010 01:59 PM

VG - We've stayed at Laguna Lodge which I believe is the one they generally use for tours, but they told us they can make other arrangements for different lodges.

volcanogirl Jul 27th, 2010 04:59 PM

Thanks for the link; I'll check it out!

Geib, I hope you have a great trip!

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