Firstly a big thank you to everyone who has provided information as it has been extremly valuable in making some key decisions!
I am going to Central America in three weeks' time with the first port of call being San Jose, Costa Rica. I plan to take a mixture of cash and cards and am a bit confused on what exactly to take.
Cash-wise I plan to take US Dollars but is it worth me exchanging some into Costa Rican Colon before I go? Can any one advise a reliable bank in the UK that provides this currency? Also I was considering taking some travellers cheques but I have heard this will be hard to change in certain areas of Central America.
Would appreciate anyone's advice on this.
No need to try and find Colones in the UK. If you have a VISA credit card, there are a number of ATM's which will give you cash in local currency. Ask your bank/credit card company in this respect.
All the same, take some dollars with you. You can change them at any bank and many shops accept them too.
Don't take travellers' cheques unless you have a contact in the country who vouches for you and advances the cash.
Enjoy Costa Rica !
I'll try and spot an ATM as soon as I hit the tarmac!
Thanks for your advice fraluchi.
When i went to latin america I brought 400 american cash hidden in various spots. I also had 300 dollars in american travellors checks for emergencies and the rest divided into two bank accounts which were linked to my visa. I ended up needing the travellors checks on 2 occasions and they saved me during emergencies where there wereno banks that accepted my Canadian debit card.
The visa and seperationg of my money into two different accounts was usefull because...
a)with my visa i bought big ticket items, such as flights, and then tranferred the money from my account to pay them off.
b) the seperate accounts was a safety incase i was caught in a sitation where i was threatened to take out my money from my account,,,,this way i still had a back up....
always keep yoru cards seperate and dont fall asleep on the buses!!! guard your belongings.