1. Currency Exchange: Feel free to skip the foreign exchange currency counter (unless you’re not using American dollars). The dollar is used frequently in Costa Rica and accepted by restaurants and taxis. Thus, don’t get ripped off by the foreign currency counters at the airports by their extortionist rates. Sure, you might round off to $1 to 500 Costa Rica Colones (the exchange rate is around $1 to 495) when dealing with taxis, but that’s not anymore than what you would have to pay elsewhere. Plus, restaurants will give you a bill in both the Colones and the dollar and either is fine with them.

2. Water: Take off the water bottle label. The local bottled water, Alpina, comes in a regular looking plastic bottle with a mostly blue label. Unless you want to walk around with blue hands all day, take that label off when you buy the water. I don’t know if it’s the heat or the label itself, for some reason, when you rub your hands on it, the blue ink just comes right off onto your hand. And since you might want to purchase some street food and eat with your hands, you should have clean hands as much as possible.

3. Taxi Fare: Bargain with the taxi driver beforehand. Set a price with the driver before you get into his cab or else risk haggling when you arrive at your destination. It doesn’t matter if someone else told you what price you’re going to pay, if it didn’t come from the driver himself, that price is meaningless. For the most part, they’re actually nice people just trying to make a living, but sometimes, you’ll run into unsavory characters trying to rip off the tourists. So save yourself the trouble and bargain beforehand and check out his cab before you get in. And last, ignore the meter; that doesn’t mean much.

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