Changing money – before leaving
please avoid changing your currency into Colones before arriving into Costa Rica. International bank rates are horrible, they charge a very high commission fee and they usually do not have the new bills.
Remember to ensure that your bank card has been authorized for international use before leaving your home country.
Changing money – Once in Costa Rica
- Change some money when you arrive at Costa Rican airport, and leave the rest to do at the closest bank to where you will be needing large sums of money.
- As for dollars or Colones… a mix is best. Many hotels DO accept dollars but taxi drivers and small business normally do not and if they do they will take nothing bigger then $20.00 bills. Most larger towns do have a bank where you can change traveler’s checks.
- Most banks machines in Costa Rica have a daily limit of about $500.00 but cash withdrawal from a visa or MasterCard can usually be much higher if done directly in the bank not via the cash machine. Commisions are charged.
- Dollars or Colones only! Euros, Canadian dollars and other currencies will not be accepted here in Costa Rica and especially not in small towns. Euros, Canadian dollars and some other currencies can be changed in San Jose and some locations of the BCT Banks.
- As for changing money in small towns, small amounts can usually be done at the supermarket with the purchase of something.
- Please remember that low budget hotels normally only take cash and not large denomination bills.
Travelling on a budget
Travelling on a budget is not a bad thing but does take a bit more planning as you do need to be sure that the towns you would like to see have low budget accommodations and enough of them during the busy months. Reservations are not normally necessary in low/mid-budgets but is always a good idea if your dates are set.
The best and cheapest way to travel is backpacking and here in Costa Rica the backpacker hostels are cheaper then the official youth hostels. Buy a “Lonely Planet”, “Let’s go” or “Rough guide” travel guidebook which will supply you with contact info of many low budget hotels and camping sites.
Please remember to make bookings for the holidays, both international and local holidays, as most beach hotels do have limited space around those times. If you are planning to make reservations please expect that it may take quite a bit of time to respond due to availability, or lack there of, to internet.
What type of spending budget should I have per day?
General Spending cash is hard to estimate as it depends upon your life style. But normally, when your not in all included package, you should budget about $20.00 per day for food, at least $15.00 a night for basic accommodations, travel from one destination to the next and travel from hotel and back for daily excursions and park entrances fees or tour costs. The park entrance prices are about $10 per day and taxi costs are all based on how close you are staying to your excursion destination. If you are taking the time and money to travel it’s best to have more then less to feel you have really enjoyed your Vacation!
For students studying at Montaña Linda Spanish Language School and choosing a homestay family option, your extra expenses would be that which you would consume for lunch, laundry small gifts for the family, maybe taking them out for ice cream etc and any extra tours or transport to parks that you might want to do during your time here in Orosi.