Should I convert my money into the local currency before coming to Costa Rica?


Country: Costa Rica


Before you coming to Costa Rica, you must know three important things:

1) The Local Currency at Costa Rica is The Colon or CRC (Costa Rican Colon)

2) The Exchange Rate is actually :$1USD = ¢571 CRC Aprox March 10/09

3) In Some places you can pay in USD Dollars but with some restrictions about bills of $50 or higher.

Always Welcome and Enjoy your Trip, Visit us To have the pleasure to attend you.
I wouldn't recommend it. You'll pay a fee to exchange money and almost everywhere accepts dollars. You can take colones out of the ATMs if you need them...
Im agree with them...good luck!
Best bet is to get colones directly out of an ATM throughout Costa Rica. You will always get the best exchange. There is an ATM at the Juan Santamaría Int'l Airport on the 2nd foor at Departure.

Local banks will give you an average of ¢561 colones to your dollar (SELL RATE). Do not change any money at home! You will receive a very poor exchange rate! Also, do not change any money inside the airport duty free zone or just outside Customs before exiting. The Money Exchange is a real tourist trap and charges a big commission.

Caveat emptor!
u will be abble to exchange your money by the time you get here, u can take it from a ATM and it wont charge you for that. if i were you i´ll exchange it for cultural issues, it´s very important to know about others contries cultures. as the quote sais In Rome do as the Romans do.
have a save trip and enjoy
No, you can convert your money at the bank in Costa Rica for the best exchange rate. Travelers checks are not welcome.
OK, I guess everything depends on if you are a tourist or a traveler. If you are the first type, go ahead and follow the previous advices.
But, if you are a traveler, I recommend exchange some US$150 into colones at airport BUT NOT in the cashiers close to the luggage carousels. If you arrive in office hours you rather go upstairs to the DEPARTURE area and use the bank agency there. Remember that ATM should charge a high fee for withdraw money in other countries than the home ones. That kind of money would be very useful if you want to explore the cities and buy some food, drinks, etc. Also notice that the actual currency notes are in 10.000, 5000, 2000 and 1000 bills. Try to ask the bankteller give the most posible of low denominations bills. Even when 10000 colones is equal to US$20, you would have a big issue trying to make the shops accept them to pay for a soda and some snacks.
"Tourist just witness. Traveler takes action."
Nop there's no need to do this, you can do it easily once you here, plus dont forget your dollars work here too, just dont bring big ones because you will have trouble using them in most places.
Here are the quick facts... kind of a summary of what's already been said with a little extra opinion thrown in...

1. Don't bother changing money at home into Colones... bring US funds and you can change it here at any bank or when you purchase something... you pay in US, they convert and give you change in colones...

2. Bring your bank ATM card and as long as it has the PLUS symbol on the back, you can use it at almost any machine here. The most convenient is Scotiabank (a Canadian bank) as you can withdraw either colones or dollars. There are also Citibank branches everywhere but I'm not sure if you can get both currencies out of their machines or just colones. Expect a service fee for using an international bank on your bank statement... I pay $5 for each withdrawal so make it a good one... most of the time, withdrawal amounts are limited by your bank so check with them ahead of time what your daily limit is. I also prefer spending the $5 to withdraw money as I need it rather than risk losing my stash of cash or having it taken from me...

3. It is more culturally acceptable to pay with colones rather than dollars. If you would like better treatment/service, paying with the local currency is the way to go. Many places will accept payment with dollars but they don't really like to have to do the math so save yourself some time and pay with colones or even a credit card so the bank can just do the conversion for you.

4. The int'l airport in San Jose has at least one Scotiabank ATM machine. You can use a bank card or a credit card. If you plan on using a credit card, it's a good idea to call your company first and let them know you are taking an international trip so that they don't look at your "odd" spending and put a hold on your account which forces you to make an international call to them to explain... it can be quite inconvenient especially if you plan on renting a car...

Anyway, that's probably a lot more than you were asking but I felt compelled to share. Hope you have an great adventure down here in Bananaland!

Jasona :o)
No It's easy to have colones here in Costa Rica, you just need to have american money and the colones disvalue every day so better having US dollars with you and change here
No because it's easy to change US Dollars in colones and the colones disvalue everyday So bring US dollars and change a little everyday in bank and you can pay with Us dollars everywere
just bring usd in small bills, nothing bigger than a 50. lots of 20 and 10. the exchange rate is pretty stable and you can change in any bank, you will have to bring your passport in order to change in any bank. most hotels and businesses accept credit cards and also atm is working fine. just some debit cards do not work on any atm, some atm have problems with one card type, so try the next atm close by. also sometimes atm withdrawals have charges in your bank account, make sure you know how much. most atm max out at 200.000.- colones, which is around 360 usd a day. some atm give dollars as well.
I think is better that you come with your money here and chance it here, also in our country the stores accept dollars, for example in like 90% of the hotel´s accept dollar and all the MacDonald's, KFC, wendys or quiznos accept to, finally don´t chance your money in the global exchange in the airport of Costa Rica they will rape you off. I recommend that you go to the Banco de Costa Rica they have one of the best fare to convert your money and is one in the Juan Santamaria airport.
You can do it here in any local bank. But our exchange rate goes up $.20 per day -approximately- that means that your dollars worth $.20 more everyday, and that´s an advantage to you. My advice would be to keep 70% of your money in dollars and change the rest here in colones, although $$ are welcome almost any where, in some cases is better to have colones (cash coins, for buses, maybe food, groceries and stuff like that)
No, it is not necessary.
I've been in Costa Rica for more than 6 months for Job relocation. Based from experience, I suggest if you have US dollar, you can exchange in the airport once you arrive. There are ATM machines but some options are limited. Be SAFE always and take care. PURA VIDA !
Absolutely NOT. Dollars are widely accepted here in Costa Rica. It is fairly easy to find a bank where you can convert currency. You will get the worst rate of conversion outside Costa Rica. Then the airport would be second worst.

Any other question, please feel free to ask. Thank you, Modesta Rodriguez
ditto all the above...
In Costa Rica You can use Colones or dollars, our local currency ¢571 x $1 you can convert your dollars into colones,here in Costa Rica.
It is not necessary. And you'll have a better change in Costa Rica. We have several banks in all the city and in the most famous beaches (Tamarindo, Flamingo, Conchal, Manuel Antonio, Cahuita, etc)
It will be better if you bring $20 instead of $50 or $100
........ Pura Vida

I agree with some people. It is better to wait until you get to Costa Rica and bring your ATM card. There are several ATM machines where you can take cash at the best exchange rate. Today, for example, the exchange rate is 1US$ = 571.7 colones. You can check out the exchange rate here: You just need to go to "Tipo de Cambio para el Dólar" and check "Venta". in case that you are going to pay with USD you need to check "compra". You can also bring some USD in $20 bills as they are widely accepted in Costa Rica.

Good luck and have a great trip,

You can change dollar in any costarican bank, they all have about the same rate, do not change dollares at the hotels or at the airport, that is a bussines for them, not a service. You can also pay in dollares but just do it in safe places, not if you buy in small businnes or the street, they may get confused you and give bad the back change. Some banks may requiered passport to exchange the dollars, and if the exchange travel checks the will need it for sure.
I'd say there's no need to exchange your money before you get here, assuming you're traveling with US dollars. If its canadian dollars, or other currency, I recommend you change it first to US dollars before heading down here, and then once here convert it to colones when needed. Not all, but when need, exchange. US dollars have a very good exchange rate, and you'll find that many places will take your dollars without needing to change. So, change some, but keep dollars handy. Not many places will accept $ 50 or $ 100 bills, so use low currency. also, do not exchange money at the International Airport as the exchange rate there is very bad. Use ATMs, banks or even the hotel. Good luck!
dont can bring USD, they are mustly accepted all over the turistic spots...however, if you really need or want it some colones just get your self into one of the local banks..they usually run from 8 am to 4 pm.
Actually here in Costa Rica almost in any place you can pay with dollars, but its better to have also colons because you don´t know when you can need it.
Good Luck
Have fun i hope you like our country
its not necessary, most touristy areas would take dollars, just make sure you carry small ones cuz hundreds wont be taken> in San Jose, most ppl wont take dollars or u might get a very very bad exchange rate.
Use your credit card, they are accepted in most places.
its not necessary, most touristy areas would take dollars, just make sure you carry small ones cuz hundreds wont be taken> in San Jose, most ppl wont take dollars or u might get a very very bad exchange rate.
I would only exchange about $100 and use your atm card for the rest. Check with your bank to see if there is an international service charge.
In the touristy areas you can pay even in the small pulperias with US dollars (the exchange rate will variet a lot but ...) for paying in the city you need colones(may be hotels will accept it US dollars). Is better to have $20's many places will nt take $50 or $100, also is easy to find places where you can pay with your card and ATM. Be carefull with extra charge for paying with credit card )is not allowed)... Enjoy Costa Rica, come to visit the Osa Peninsula!!
no , just do it when you arrive in costa rica -

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