I was wondering what is the best way to handle money in Costa Rica. Meaning, should I get an American Express travelers check card. Bring an ATM card. Or just carry around travelers checks. Also how much should I have on me when going to more remote areas? Any help would be great
I will recommend you an ATM card (Visa, Master, Amex), over here there's a lot of ATMs so you will have no problem at all. The travelers checks are an option, but there're not too many places to change them.
Of course, you will need cash for some things. Now, about remote areas what do you mean? Beaches at the Guanacaste area or maybe volcanoes at the north. If this is the case you still can use your credit card or between $15 and $30 per day on food depending of your needs. If you want to enjoy other attractions like scuba diving, you will need to bring some extra money.
If you need further assistance please let me know.
PS. CR is not as expensible as -by example- the most of the Western Europe. A good meal is between $10 to $5 (and yes...good food!!! )
ATM card is definately the way to go. You can withdraw both US dollars and Costa Rican Colones at some ATMs.
I agree ATM is the way to go Certain banks use different cards but if you enter the bank persoanlly WIH your card AND passport my B&B guests have not had a problem BUT with travelers checks I have to take them personally to my bank Manager to cash them...Seems Travelers checks are getting hard to cash here
Just a couple of caveats for using ATM cards (agree it's the best and safest way to go)...
Most of the ATM's are PLUS compatible - just make sure you have a 4 number PIN - I know that some banks in the US are using 6 number PIN's but here in the 3rd world they only recognize 4 numbers....
Also check with your bank on their charges for international withdrawals - I had a Chase card a few years ago that charged me 5% for overseas ATM withdrawals - soon cancelled that account - other banks it's a fixed fee - so plan ahead and take out enough to last a few days, rather than $20 here and $20 there as the fees might add up.
Good point on the fees - if you are only going for a short period of time it's probably not worth worrying about. If you are going to be down in Central America for an extended period of time look into getting an account that waives the international PLUS fee. You might have to pay more for the monthly service charge, but you'll probably save it in PLUS fees.
When I was in South America I was paying $5.00 Canadian per transaction!