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Money and duty free for Costa Rica

Currency and Money

Currency information

Costa Rican colón, plural colónes, (CRC; symbol ₡) = 100 céntimos. Notes are in denominations of ₡50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000 and 1,000. Coins are in denominations of ₡500, 100, 50, 25, 20, 10, 5 and 1.

US dollars (in small denominations) are widely accepted.

Credit cards

All major credit cards are accepted. However, cash is likely to be the only form of payment in rural areas.


ATMs are widely available in every town and city, but not common in the countryside.

Travellers cheques

Travellers' cheques are no longer popular and should be avoided.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1500. Some branches may have different operating hours.

Currency restrictions

While there are no restrictions to importing and exporting local currency and US dollars, anyone with more than US$10,000 or equivalent must declare the amount they are carrying. Failing to declare may see your money being seized.

Currency exchange

Available at banks and bureaux de change. Many shops allow visitors to pay for goods in US dollars, although they may not use the correct exchange rate.

Costa Rica duty free


The following goods may be imported into Costa Rica without incurring customs duty:
• 500g tobacco.
• 5L of alcoholic beverages (travellers aged over 18 only).
• Goods to the value of up to US$500.
• Up to 2kg for sweets.

Banned Imports

Pork products, fresh produce, seeds and plants are not allowed. Firearms are restricted, meaning you must have a permit and declare on entry.

If you plan to take your medicine, make sure that you only carry the necessary quantity, which must be correctly labelled. You should also have a prescription from your doctor detailing the purpose and usage.

Banned Exports

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) treaty protects about 5,950 species of animals and 32,800 species of plants. It also forbids anyone from exporting these protected species from Costa Rica. For more information, see the CITES website.

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