Travelers Checks??

May 13th, 2004, 07:06 PM
  #1  
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Travelers Checks??

Is it best to carry travelers checks or cash? We will be traveling to places like Monteverde and arenal where it may be more difficult to cash them.?...

Shonda is offline  
May 13th, 2004, 07:27 PM
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Shonda,
Check with the hotels by e-mail as to their traveler's cheques policy. This is a good way to pay for hotels. There is usually no problem. Saves you having to tote a lot of cash around. Most towns of any size have an ATM machine and cash is easy to get. We usually keep about $200-300 on us and replenish as needed!
shillmac is offline  
May 14th, 2004, 06:55 AM
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IMHO Low cost Credit Cards (1% V or MC)and ATMs are "always" the better deals unless you need access to a local account with larger balances over many weeks or months (I use the "free" AAA Visa Trav Checks to replenish when needed).
M
mikemo is offline  
May 14th, 2004, 03:47 PM
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mikemo, a couple of the lodgings we are staying at requested American traveler's checks. Have you found that this is the preference, or do some establishments prefer Costa Rican checks?
Molly2 is offline  
May 16th, 2004, 02:37 PM
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No one anywhere refuses cash - ATMs make that a nonissue. Sure, you'll pay $1.25 for a USD $300.+ w/d and 1% on a credit card charge, but if any merchant attempts to rip off your credit card, you can simply refuse the charges.
Most locals will "screw" you , entschuldiegung Sie, on the exchange rates using Trav Checks.
I would recommend ATM for cash and low cost Credit Cards exclusively.
M
PS I know it's a pain to fill your checking (ATM) account with cash before travelling, but it's cheaper and more efficient everywhere.
mikemo is offline  
May 16th, 2004, 04:34 PM
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You're right mikemo, ATM withdrawals often make more "cents", but I do think that traveler's checks still have their place. The lodging establishments that have requested travelers checks from me are upfront about their prices {listed on their websites and in correspondence} and have excellent reputations, so chances are slim that I would get ripped off.

I'm a bit confused about where to use credit cards in CR. I don't think that businesses there like them because it costs them more to process; sometimes they will offer a lower rate for cash or traveler's checks. I do plan on using my credit card when I can.

I wouldn't feel comfortable carrying around hundreds or thousands in cash, depending exclusively upon ATMs, especially in remote areas. Sometimes traveler's checks are still better.
Molly2 is offline  
May 16th, 2004, 06:06 PM
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Molly, I agree with you entirely. It is easy to find out ahead of time if your hotel accepts them and then use them solely for that purpose. We have had excellent results doing this. We have never been charged extra to use them. I really think a combination of traveler's cheques, credit card (when necessary) and occasional ATM stops for a small cash reserve serves most people well. There really isn't a need to carry more than $200-$300 at a time unless you are going to be in remote areas for several days without ATM access.
shillmac is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 05:56 AM
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I would be a little bit cautious about using credit cards. They will most likely be okay at the hotels but credit card scams are a problem. Generally it is when they run it through a machine that makes carbon copies of your number. They then have your number and expiration date that an emloyee could get a peek at.
KatHep is offline  
May 18th, 2004, 04:01 PM
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shillmac, do you know if Savegre Lodge {where we will meet in just a few weeks - yipee!} wants traveler's checks in American funds? I tried asking them this question directly, but I couldn't seem to make myself understood. I really wish I knew better Spanish!
Molly2 is offline  
May 18th, 2004, 04:07 PM
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No, I am going to have to check on that myself. The reservation form did not specify. We will take Traveler's Cheques and hope to use them. If not, will probably use credit card. Knock on wood, but credit card use has not been a problem for us YET. My Bosque Del Cabo reservation required a personal check for half the total about a month ago. For the final payment, they prefer cash or traveler's cheques. I really think traveler's cheques will work at almost any hotel. Yes, see you soon!
shillmac is offline  
May 18th, 2004, 04:25 PM
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Thanks, shillmac. I thought you might be on-line, since we seem to both frequent this site in the evenings.

Yes, Cabinas las Caletas {where we are staying on the Osa} also requested cash or travelers checks. They specified American funds, so I'm guessing - hoping - that our other hotels {Arenal Observatory Lodge and Savegre} will accept them also. Not sure about excursions.

Bosque del Cabo sounds absolutely fantastic. You should have a great experience there!
Molly2 is offline  
May 18th, 2004, 04:57 PM
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Molly, what is your schedule again? Are you going to Savegre first or after the Osa? I'm sure it's posted somewhere, but I can't remember.
shillmac is offline  
May 18th, 2004, 05:26 PM
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I had no trouble cashing travelers checks in the bank in Zarcero and in La Fortuna. There is a 1% service charge and there was no wait in either bank in March. A little broken Spanish did help. I felt more secure carrying only the cash we needed. We used credit cards in most places with no problem. We only needed cash at the small local stores and we used cash for gas.
marion2 is offline  
May 18th, 2004, 05:49 PM
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shillmac, we are going to Savegre from 6/29 - 7/1, then Savegre will transport us to Sierpe, where we will catch a boat to the Osa. I seem to recall that our visits to Savegre will coincide on 6/29.?
Molly2 is offline  
May 18th, 2004, 06:34 PM
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Yes, that is right. We will be traveling by bus. That should be an interesting experience! We will be heading south to San Vito for a couple of days after leaving Savegre on the 30th. Then on to Golfito/Puerto Jiminez/Bosque del Cabo. It would be nice to be able to compare our Osa experiences. I suppose we can meet again online!

Marion: You seem to agree that this "3 pronged approach" works well. I would like to hear from anyone who has had a bad experience with credit card use. This is always a concern because the information is indeed available!
shillmac is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 03:23 PM
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I too am anxious to compare travel notes, shillmac. Traveling by bus should be an adventure in and of itself!

I agree; caution is called for when using credit cards, and not just when traveling outside our country. I've had to get a new card several times over the years because someone got hold of the number - once someone ran up over a thousand dollars in lingerie purchases!
Molly2 is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 05:28 PM
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Hi Molly,
I guess we have been lucky not to have had to replace cards. I'm sure our time is coming because I order things online and frequently send it to Costa Rica online to secure reservations. Oh well, some of us have to learn the hard way! See you soon.
shillmac is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 06:33 PM
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I know this is ridiculously off post, and I apologize to those who were interested in the original topic, but the powers that be at fodor's don't allow any more reasonable form of communication.

shillimac, I'm really curious about your plans in the San Vito area. It's one of my favorites and no one ever goes there. What propted you to visit, and what little gems are you planning to discover?
costaricaguide is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 06:33 PM
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koa
 
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Okay, I got a stupid question. When withdrawing from ATMs in CR, do you get back colones or dollars?
koa is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 06:48 PM
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This is NOT a stupid question, koa! Most ATM's will give you a choice. I think we have come across a few that give only colones, but that is what we are trying to get anyway, so haven't minded. We have had best luck in San Jose. Occasionally we'll find one that won't work for us (never know quite why), so don't wait until the last minute! Have a couple of different cards with you just in case one of them won't go through and the other might.
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