Costa Rica Money

Currency: Costa Rican coln

If you want to change cash, stick to US dollars (but make sure they're in decent condition and avoid US$100 bills - due to a counterfeiting scam, most Costa Ricans won't touch them). US dollars are your best bet for traveler's checks as well, as other currencies will rarely be accepted - any of the major brands will do. If you buy colones with your credit card, expect to get hit with a huge interest bill. Banco Popular, ATH and Credomatic have the largest number of ATMs and their networks often extend as far as the smaller towns and cities. Some banks though, like branches of Banco Nacional, accept cards held by their customers only. Visa and Mastercards are the most widely-accepted credit cards; you may have some trouble with American Express.

You don't usually need to bother with tipping at restaurants, as most add a 10% tip (plus 15% tax) to the bill. You should tip bellboys and room cleaners about US$0.50, tour guides US$1-5 a day per person. Of course, if the service is excellent or lousy you should use your own discretion.

Copyright 2003 Lonely Planet Publications , all rights reserved, used with permission 

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