Vendor walking along moving traffic selling bubble making machine.

People do a lot of things to earn money in Costa Rica. For example, it is not uncommon for someone to board a public bus and hawk food. I don’t think they pay and they don’t stay on long. They must sell things or they wouldn’t keep doing it.

Vendor between lanes of traffic selling a variety of things, probably cell phone accessories.

Another curious thing was vendors (and beggars) standing between lanes of traffic selling everything from food to cell phone chargers, toys, sun glasses, etc. The main bridge in and out of San Jose was under construction for a number of months and we had the “pleasure” of experiencing the delays caused by a reduced number of traffic lanes (aka sitting in traffic barely moving…kind of like it is in Austin now). Above are a couple of pictures we took from the taxi at vendors.

Banking and Getting Cash

Two friends in the states asked how we were going to get cash. I said that everything I had read made it simple. Go to a bank, use their ATM and withdraw the money. That said, it was not yet my personal experience, so doubt crept in.

I need not have worried.

There are a few finer points. We made sure that the debit/credit cards we carry have chips and require a PIN. Although some of the world does not require a PIN, so far I am glad I have one.

The first time we went to withdraw cash, it kept being refused. Finally, the nearby guard came over and told us that we were at a bank that would not accept the chip (a common problem I’m sure). We went to another bank nearby and had no trouble.

As an extra security measure, we try to only go to banks. This avoids the possibility of a camera or some other device tracking our transaction. Not all towns have a bank, so it is fortunate that our guidebooks warn about that.