Currency and Payments
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The official currency Costa Rica is the colon (¢) (Bills of 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, and 500 colones are issued, as well as coins of 100, 50, 25, 20, 10, and 5 colones) but US dollars are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops. US dollars and traveler's checks can be changed in banks and hotels.


There is an ample selection of state and private banks in San Jose, and at least one major bank in every large town. For European visitors, it is advisable to change Euros and Sterling Pounds to US Dollars before departing to Costa Rica. By July, 2007, exchange rate for US$1 was ¢500.00 increasing about ¢0.02 cents daily.

Foreign currency exchange

It can be done in banks (that open from 09.00 to 15.00 or 17.00 hours) or at exchange offices. We recommend visiting Costa Rica with US dollars, since the exchange rate used a reference is that of the Costa Rican colon with regard to the United States dollar, and Costa Rica’s commercial banks only exchange United States dollars. Exchanging other currencies, such as euros is normally complicated and the person must go to the Central Bank of Costa Rica.

International credit cards

Major credit cards are widely accepted, and cash advances can be obtained in most cities. The use of cards such as MasterCard, Visa, and Diners Club is common and does not present problems in Costa Rica. Most of the cities have ATMs.

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