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When to pay departure tax

Waddington, New York
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When to pay departure tax

I recall recently reading a message on this board where a poster recommended paying the departure tax upon arrival in San Jose as that would also provide a good opporunity to convert USD to Colones at a favorable rate. After a search I can't seem to find the post. Can anyone advise if it is in fact possible to pay the departure tax upon arrival and if so, where do we go from arrivals to do that? Do we exchange currency there or somewhere else?

Pensacola, Florida
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1. Re: When to pay departure tax

you can pay the $26 departure tax at any time .

You will see the big counters with a large sign

to your left as you leave SJO. very hard to miss..

Always ATM my colones for correct FOREX exchange rate

currently hovering in the 565C/1USD area

Punta Uva, Costa...
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2. Re: When to pay departure tax

You can pay for your departure tax at departure, very quick to do so, don't exchange money at airport, they will give you terrible rates. There is a ATM at baggage claim area that you can take out dollars/colones, I recommend take out colones, 50, 000 should be plenty to get you to first destination.

Pensacola, Florida
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3. Re: When to pay departure tax

If you elect to pay on departure the counter is to your right as you enter SJO

what I usually do...they do take credit cards but treated as a cash advance

so an extra $10 that way so best to pay cash..

Pennsylvania USA
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4. Re: When to pay departure tax

I just went into a Banco de Costa Rica and waited in line for a few minutes to pay mine. It was really easy, although I'm sure paying it in the airport is easy too!

Punta Uva, Costa...
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5. Re: When to pay departure tax

Sometimes the line at banks are longer than what you would wait at airport, it move fast.

Arlington VA USA
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6. Re: When to pay departure tax

We paid at Bank of Costa Rica in Samara the day before our departure ...no line... very easy...saved time at airport.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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7. Re: When to pay departure tax

If make you feel better...pay at arrival...and enjoy our country!

roadadvisor

Tampa, FL
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8. Re: When to pay departure tax

Just to clarify a few points from the posts above and add some additional ones:

1) When Cubanon said "don't exchange money at airport, they will give you terrible rates", he meant or should have said "don't exchange money at the CURRENCY EXCHANGE BOOTH at the airport". Those are the small counters you will see shortly after you get in to the ARRIVAL area at the airport and the rates they offer are truly horrible ones just for suckers. Unfortunately, because they're the first place to get money that arriving tourists normally see, too many of them fall for it. HOWEVER, there ARE other places to exchange money when you arrive which do give you decent rates. You just have to walk a little further to find them.

2) You can get good EXCHANGE rates out of an ATM, but you should also be aware that there are often ATM usage fees involved (either a percentage or flat fee on each transaction). And, even if its not posted on the ATM or announced on the screen, there may still be other charges imposed by your own bank (such as foreign exchange transaction charges if withdrawing from your US$ account in colones). It is best to check with your bank before you go to find out their policies for your card.

3) When qwovadis said "If you elect to pay on departure the counter is to your right as you enter SJO", he should have added if you elect to pay upon ARRIVAL you can go to the SAME counter. To get there from where you come in, you'll need to exit the airport building, crossover the pick-up lane, go up the stairs (btw, there is an ATM at the top of the stairs), cross back over the drop-off lanes and re-enteer the airport. Like qwovadis said, the departure tax counter will be on your right.

4) On your far right, just past the departure tax counter, you'll also see a bank booth with 2 windows. You can also exchange money there for good rates without having to worry about any ATM fees.

5) Because the only business being conducted at the airport departure tax counter is purchasing the departure tax stamp, even if there is a line it always moves very fast. You can also pay for your departure tax later during your trip at a bank but, because all other sorts of bank business goes on there, the lines can sometimes be long and slow, so it will be a real crap shoot when you go.

6) Similarly, the bank booths at the airport are nearly always very quick to use. I've only experienced more than 1 person ahead of me in line when I've used them (must have been payday at the airport as they were airport employees). Usually, there is no one else there when I've walked up to the windows. Also, their hours are very convenient being open 7 days a week until 10PM.

7) Like others have said avoid using a cc to pay your departure tax, as it will be treated as a CASH ADVANCE thereby possibly subjecting you to cash advance fees and interest charges from your bank.

8) Your departure stamp goes on a seperate piece of paper, which could easily be lost or misplaced as you travel around the country and if you lose it, you'll have to pay for it again. So, if you do pay your departure tax early, be sure to keep that little piece of paper in a secure place (like with your passport in your hotel room safe),

9) Personally, I never bother to prepay my departure tax. You always want to get to the airport early when you're leaving anyway because of the check-in and security lines, which can be long and slow, But even when there's a line for the departure tax , I've NEVER seen it take more than 5 minutes TOPS to pay for the tax (at least not since they added more windows). So even if you get to the airport a little behind schedule, having to pay the tax or not really isn't going to make that big a difference any way.

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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9. Re: When to pay departure tax

We always just pay it when we leave. I've never had more than a couple of people in line ahead of me, and haven't had to wait long at all. I don't want to keep track of that little slip of paper during the trip so always just do it when we depart.

PC
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10. Re: When to pay departure tax

Does it make a difference when to pay your departure tax if you have an early flight? My flight leaves at 6:23 a.m. so should I pay the departure tax ahead of time?

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