Costa Rica is a country with its own local currency: Colones. However, you can pay in Costa Rica with local colones and USA dollars. We will explain to you more about what we think you need to know about the money before your visit to Costa Rica!
Having cash with you is always handy. Cash is necessary for the buses and some local restaurants. The credit card is widely accepted. Tourist sites, most restaurants, and shops accept credit cards. The most accepted credit cards are Mastercard and VISA. It will be harder to pay with credit card types like American Express.
If you can, bring dollars with you upon arrival. You can use dollars and colones in Costa Rica. We recommend you take money out of ATM when you are in Costa Rica. Normally your local bank asks for a fee for this transaction. Altogether, this fee is probably a better rate than exchanging your money at the airport or local bank since they also ask for a commission for the exchange.
Some banks in Costa Rica also ask you for a fee for getting money out of the ATM with an international bank card. This can be up to a fee of 5 US dollars. One of the banks which only ask for the fee of your local bank is ‘Banco de Costa Rica’.
With us, you don’t have to worry about this manner. You will be picked up with your private transfer from the airport and once you arrive at your hotel you can ask the receptionists where the closest ATM is!
There are no ATMs in rural places like Corcovado. Therefore said, expect long walks for an ATM in rural places. Most ATM’s have opening hours here in Costa Rica. Opening hours range from 6:30 AM – 10 PM. Keep this in mind!
You can pay with both. Most supermarkets have an automatic calculator in their cashier when you pay in dollars and most sites accept the dollar but normally give you change in colones. An easy way to save up colones. When the price is shown in colones, it will benefit you to pay in colones instead of dollars.
In some restaurants, you will need to pay in cash (colones or dollars), in others there is the possibility to pay with your credit card (Visa or Master Card). We always suggest having both options.