Exchanging dollars is relatively easy in Costa Rica and US dollars are widely accepted. Costa Rica’s national currency, the colon, fluctuates in value to the U.S. dollar and has drifted downward against the U.S. currency in recent years, with the banks paying about 565 colones for $1 in December 2017.
You can get local money when you arrive at the San Jose or Liberia International Airports. However, if you aren’t able to do this when you land, there are many local banks that offer both local and international banking services and can exchange foreign currencies, provide cash advances on credit cards. Be sure to take your passport with you when using the teller banking services. A copy of your passport is usually not accepted.
ATM machines are widely available and are a great option to withdraw money when you need it.
Remember to keep your dollar denominations small. Large denomination bills such as hundreds or even fifties may not be accepted.
Ideally, you will want to carry some colones while in Costa Rica, especially if you plan on traveling to out of the way places. Small hotels, restaurants and shops prefer colones but will accept US $.