Hola Jennifer, Matthew, and Sam! Your website w/forum & books are wonderful, thank you! I will be in CR 3/17-23 w/14 yr old daughter and her adult sister. Our trip is focused on younger sister spending days with three private schools; if she feels very good about any one, and if we feel right in CR (have never been), we may relocate asap as a family (older sibs are independent, parents are retired). My questions are: I read your text about currency. Can we arrive with just US cash? Or should we get our US bank to get us CR cash prior to departure? Second, you recommended a “simple” phone ($50) that I would not need to “unlock” (I have a Verizon-plan iPhone). What brand or type would you recommend I purchase on Amazon (phone) and when and where do I get a plan that will work on CR? I can get a SIMS card at the airport and someone can explain it to me? Will this phone “get” WhatsApp and how do I use it? Finally, the Directors at the school tell me to get “waze” and I have no idea what that is, where to get it, and what to do with it! Yes, we will have a car; we will be staying with close friends in Atenas and in Airbnbs on those nights when we need to be close to the schools. Gracias!
You can just show up with US dollars. They are widely accepted (though anything larger than a $20 can be tough to pay with sometimes). You can either get local colones as change when paying with dollars or go into a bank with your passport and get the daily exchange rate with no extra charges. More about money on our Money Matters post. As for the phone, you can check out the list of unlocked phones on Amazon (link). For running apps like Waze and Whatsapp, you will need a smart phone/something with a touch screen. I quickly looked at the RCA M1 4.0 Unlocked Cell Phone, Dual SIM (a little far down the list), and it seems like it would work. Yes, the Kolbi counter at the airport can get you all set up with minutes and data reasonably cheap and you can recharge at supermarkets, etc. As for how to use the Waze and Whatsapp applications, I’m sure there are articles out there that will help you.