Exchanging money in Costa Rica isn’t a hard thing to do, but many travelers are unsure of how they should exchange money when they first enter the country. You have a number of choices; you could use the money exchange service at your departing airport or in the Costa Rica airport, you could wait and exchange money at the bank, carry travelers checks, or any other number of options. the question is, which is best?
Really it depends on your plans and what type of traveling you will be doing. For the sake of this post I will assume you are a budget traveler staying at a hostel or hotel in San Jose.
If you arrange for a van or cab inside the airport via the information booth, you will be able to pay with US dollars. ( At this time Im unsure if the airport accepts other currencies.)
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Many youth hostels and budget hotels tend to be very good about offering many exchange services at the same rate as the bank or better. Even if your accommodation’s charge a little more than the bank, its probably worth it. Making your way to the bank, standing in line, and having to deal with tellers can be a drawn out process.
If you will be traveling with a debit or credit card, you can always visit the closest ATM. Fees are minimal and most ATMs are in Spanish and English. You may or may not be able to use your card at your lodging of choice.