Theft in Costa Rica is at an all time high. I have been travelling here for 20 years. It is hard to enjoy the natural beauty of the country due to this extreme annoyance. Beaches such as Nosaro, Mal Pais, Tamarindo, Grande, and Manuel Antonio (just to name a few) are so bad, that one can not even leave a towel on the beach to go into the water without it being stolen. Literally it is that bad. The American embassy is filled with people who have lost everything while vacationing. It makes vacationing not fun anymore in this country, I am very sad to say.Laura Sawyer, USA (Mar 03)
You've mentioned that VISA-Plus ATM cards are the easiest to use, but I would emphasize this further. It is almost impossible to find an ATM that accepts MC/Cirrus?. Many banks have ATMs that do not charge fees except for the 1% imposed by VISA so using ATMs is the easiest and best way to get cash while abroad. I would also suggest bringing a VISA credit card because it seemed to me that about 30% of places accepting VISA did not accept Mastercard ... Though there are a lot of ATM's in different places, it is very hard to find ATM's you can use with Cirrus or Maestro cards (in La Fortuna, about the most touristy place in CR, none of the four ATM's work with Cirrus or Maestro!). ... So my advice would be to bring enough cash with you before getting to Costa Rica and/or be sure you have a Visa/Plus? card. Otherwise, finding and getting money will be very difficult. Epecially when most places charge you 10% extra to use your credit card anywhere!
If you're planning to have your own bathroom, eat decently and catch an occasional plane, US$30-60 (pp) should cover your needs. Travelers expecting to be very comfortable can easily spend US$100-150 (pp) per day, depending on their definition of comfort. ... US dollars are your best bet for traveler's checks as well, as other currencies will rarely be accepted - any of the major brands will do. If you buy colones with your credit card, expect to get hit with a huge interest bill.