We at Blue Sky Vacation Rentals want you to enjoy your vacation without any worries. When traveling to another country, it is always best to be prepared and understand the local conventions before you go, especially when it comes to money.
Costa Rica’s currency is the colon. It comes in both paper and coin form. The paper money goes from bills of ₡1,000 (called a “mil” (Spanish for 1,000) or “un rojo” because of the bill’s red color) to ₡50,000
The exchange rate fluctuates and works out to between ₡500-550 per US dollar. So if something costs ₡1,250, it is a little less than $2.50. An easy tip is to double the amount in colons and move the decimal point. Here are the most common bills and their estimated United States dollar equivalent using this method:
- ₡1,000 is about $2.00
- ₡2,000 is about $4.00
- ₡5,000 is about $10.00
- ₡10,000 is about $20.00
- ₡20,000 is about $40.00
U.S. dollars circulate freely and are accepted almost everywhere. As you travel through the country you will find prices in both currencies.
It is best to use the US dollars at larger grocery stores, restaurants, etc. where they’re doing the transaction through a computer so that you get the correct exchange rate. Smaller businesses like cab drivers and small restaurants will take the local currencies. You can find the current exchange rates here.www.bccr.fi.cr .
We recommend to always carry both currencies to avoid any risks. You can exchange dollars for colons when you get to Costa Rica. Avoid exchanging at the airport, where the rates are typically less favorable. Banks will give you the best rate. Be sure to have your passport with you when you go to the bank.
There is no need to calculate a tip when dining out in Costa Rica. By law, all menus reflect a the final price, which already includes a 10% services tax which is equivalent to a tip.
You always have the option of adding a tip, if you think the service was especially good.
A 13% sales taxes is always included in the price at every establishment.
Credit or Debit Cards.
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. American Express is somewhat less popular, especially in smaller establishments. In most cases, you can choose to pay in colons or dollars. (Be sure to notify your credit card company that you will be traveling, so your transaction doesn’t get flagged as fraudulent when you try to use it overseas.)