The Costa Rican monetary unit is the Colon.
NOTE: DON'T BE TEMPTED TO EXCHANGE MONEY IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY BEFORE DEPARTING, THE RATE YOU WILL RECEIVE IS WELL BELOW WHAT YOU'LL RECEIVE HERE.
There is a branch of the Banco de San Jose (BAC) at the airport so you can change dollars for colones there or at any of the many banks scattered throughout the country. The exchange rate is currently around ¢510 and ¢531 colones to $1.00 U.S. and can fluctuate without notice.
It is best to bring money in the form of U.S. dollar denominated traveler's checks, don't expect to cash personal checks. In the city most businesses will accept major credit cards (Visa, Master Card, AMEX), however in the outlying areas cash is preferred and many establishments will add a surcharge of around 4 - 6 1/2% for credit card transactions.
There are numerous ATM's around that work on the Cirrus, Star, and Plus systems so don't forget your PIN. Office hours are generally from 8:00 am to 4:30-5:00 PM with an hour for lunch between 12 noon and 1 PM. Most banks are open from 9:00 am to 3:00 PM on weekdays.
Western Union transfers money from
around the world to Costa Rica in 15 minutes or less. Fee depends
on the amount withdrawn, and the money can be collected at any of five
Western Union offices or at one of 55 Bancrecen banks and some 30 other
locations are also available.
Interbank transfers are considerably
less expensive, but they usually take longer to process and standing
is a certainty. Fees also depend on the amount and the bank used.
Users of this service will have to provide a routing number of the Costa
Rican bank to which the money is going to be sent, but no pre-existing
account is necessary.