While roaming around Costa Rica for 7 days I found that the good ole American dollar reigned supreme!💯✔️ Costa Rica is a place that gives you excessive amounts of Colones (Costa Rica’s currency), but charges you up the wahzoo for everything. I recommend you keep $200-$300 USD, and exchange $300 if you have plans to travel throughout the country or even party. Here’s my experience.
San Jose Around Town – San Jose is not for tourists that are not Colones savvy. If you don’t speak Spanish, at least learn the numbers quickly! Here’s the trick, if you take a taxi from the airport or around town ALWAYS have them to drop you off in front of your hotel or destination. If not, they will spew out numbers in excess of 4,5, or 800,000 colones, please don’t freak out; ask them to convert to USD. If not you convert to USD and pay them with the USA dollar. Save your colones. USD PLEASE!
San Jose Restaurants- San Jose has some of the BEST Costa Rican/Mexican eateries around town. You can definitely tell the difference from the richness of their food compared to Chipotle, or the late but great Chi Chis Mexican restaurant. This is where you are more than welcome to make it rain Colones on the waiter or waitress. Don’t be afraid to order appetizers, entrees, desserts, and several cocktails. I KNOW most Americans love leaving tips, or go over and beyond with tipping their server. NOT. Well, you’re free and clear here in San Jose, you stingy buzzards! Restaurants do not require that you tip the wait staff. So as I said MAKE IT RAIN COLONES FOR FOOD.
Shuttles – There are several shuttle companies that’ll take you from San Jose, Haco Beach, Coco Beach, Arenal, Tamarindo, and Liberia. Just be sure not to plan any major activities on that day. The scheduled 3 hour shuttle ride can quickly double or triple depending on the additional people they have to pick up or drop off. SAVE YOUR COLONES with shuttle services! They prefer to be paid in USD PLEASE. Now it all depends on what you’d like to do — the shuttle service can rang from $40 USD to $150 USD.
Tamarindo Clubs – Upon arriving at Tamarindo, surfers heaven, after my 6 hour shuttle ride; a drink was needed. At the Tamarindo clubs, SAVE YOUR COLONES! It cost a whopping $3 USD PLEASE to enter the Crazy Monkey. El Loco Monkey is a well known discoteca (club) that offers two rooms normally playing reggae/hip-hop in one, salsa/live band in the other, and a lady outside selling meat on a stick (I pray that it was chicken). They even offer live entertainment such as very hot Costa Rican and Asian dudes playing with fire on a stick lol Hace Calor!
Costa Rica is a country that understands and respects the value of the USD. However, as I’ve seen in every country, there’s always someone looking to take advantage of your lack of knowledge of their culture, and currency. Hopefully this will help you to save some Colones and USD! In the words of the great poet Tupac Shakur, Airport Diaries “gets around”. Love a little, travel a lot, and step outside of your comfort zone.
One thought on “Costa Rica… Save your Colones — USD Please ”
It always sucks to go out of town and not get the best bang for your buck. Your tips are very helpful and it makes me want to Costa Rica next!
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