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Local Currency – Credit Cards – VAT & Tipping

The local currency in Costa Rica is the Colon (plural colones) (¢). It was named after Christopher Columbus, known as Cristóbal Colón in Spanish. The colon is equivalent to USD 1.00: ¢630.00 or EUR 1.00: ¢745.00. The exchange rate fluctuates in small increments daily. Banknotes are very attractive, featuring wildlife and nature with denominations of ¢1,000.00, ¢2,000.00, ¢5,000.00, ¢10,000.00 and ¢20,000.00, Coins are available in denominations of ¢5.00, ¢10.00, ¢20.00, ¢25.00, ¢50.00, ¢100.00 and ¢500.00 Credit cards are accepted in most commercial businesses, including hotels, restaurants, markets, and stores. Contactless payments have become increasingly accepted.

VAT is 13% and it is included in the bill of any product and services, however, some Tourist Services have a reduced tax of 4% during 2021 and 8% during 2022. A 10% mandatory service charge is included in the restaurant’s bills for waiters and bartenders. For bellhops, hotel cleaners, drivers, and guides and if service was particularly good, it is recommended an extra tip that varies from $1.00 to $10.00.

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