Traveling to a foreign land is intimidating enough, especially when you’re unfamiliar with its culture, language, and way of living. Similar is the case of dealing with a country’s gas stations. However, Costa Rica has a different way of operating gas stations. The gas stations here come with full-service and are one of the best features offered in the country. This is a guide to help you get a hang of how the gas stations in Costa Rica operate. You can also skip to our travel FAQs and get your queries answered regarding everything you’d need to know as a traveler!
Gas prices in Costa Rica
Gas prices in Costa Rica follow a trend similar to the well-developed cities in the United States, though the price is almost double that of the US. The prices are under the government’s regulation and taxation and usually remain on the costlier side of the spectrum despite the weekly fluctuations. Diesel on the other hand is a relatively affordable fuel, the reason why diesel vehicles are more popular there. The Good thing is that since gas prices are regulated by the government, there is negligible variation in the prices. All the stations offer gas at the same prices.
How to pay for gas in Costa Rica?
Once you’ve got your cars filled, the next step is payment. Before you get down to the payment, make sure to keep an eye on the meter. Once you’ve checked everything, you can pay via cash or using a debit or credit card.
- Paying using cash isn’t really tricky but comes with the issue of currency conversion. Here in Costa Rica, the transactions are made in Costa Rican Colones, but USDs are accepted as well. If you have colonies then you don’t have much to worry about. The real issue is handling and exchanging currencies. If you ought to make a transaction in USD you should check for their conversion ratios and see whether they are up to date or not. The presence of mind is very important in such cases. If you find such tasks difficult to handle, it’s best to keep some local currency with you.
- Credit cards are the most convenient way of making payments. However, being careful when using your cards is important, especially when you’re traveling alone. When the attendant is done filling the gas, and it’s time to make the payment, make sure your card doesn’t leave your line of sight. Ask for the receipt and check whether the amount matches the meter. Lastly, you’ll be asked for your signature, and that wraps up the process. Most Costa Rican gas stations usually accept credit cards such as Mastercard, Visa, etc.
Variety and quality of fuel available in Costa Rica
Costa Rica primarily imports its fuel and currently has only one company managing this job, the reason why the quality of oil across the country remains comparable. As for the variety, every gas station in Costa Rica offers diesel and two types of gasoline.
- The regular gasoline has 91 octanes. It is also known as plus 91 and is the cheaper of the two variants. It is the perfect choice for filling up rental cars.
- The better and the costlier variant comes with 95 octanes. Popularly known as the Super, it is premium quality gasoline.
- Next in line is diesel. Owing to the high efficiency and low cost of diesel, it is the most popular fuel used in Costa Rica. It is also labeled as the best quality diesel in entire Central America as it has the lowest amount of sulfur particles compared to the others. The credit for this goes to the Costa Rican government, which has given its best to keep its fuel free of any contamination to a commendable extent.
Additional services are offered at the Gas Stations
What’s unique about Costa Rica is perhaps the fact that petroleum is provided by just one single company, meaning the price remains the same across all stations. So, the only way for one gas station to surpass the other is via their additional services. These services range from car washes, car repairs, filling up the tires, etc.
Many customers usually offer tips for these services even though they are not necessary. Many gas stations even have their own convenience stores where the customers can get whatever they need.
Some tips to remember when getting gas in Costa Rica
- Watch out for some common Costa Rica tourist scams, including credit card extortions. Stay alert and keep an eye on your cards.
- When using a card for making payments, make sure you cross-check whether the amount shown on the meter and the amount deducted from your card are the same or not.
- If you are traveling alone, then avoid leaving your vehicle alone when the gas is being filled.
- In Costa Rica, you’ll see many people tipping the attendants for their services. Though a good gesture, it’s not necessary. You can choose to tip them if they do some extra work.
- Asking for a receipt is your basic right and responsibility as a consumer, no matter the country. So, don’t forget to ask for and check the receipt thoroughly before leaving.
Traveling to any country comes with its own setbacks. With covid still lurking over our heads, it’s vital to check for the restrictions and the latest covid 19 update reports of the country you’re traveling to. As for Costa Rica, the cases are on a gradual decline, and tourists have more or less resumed traveling to this beautiful country again.
So, if you’re planning a trip as well, then make sure to go through this trivial-looking yet important piece of information about gas stations in Costa Rica. This will not only save you your precious time but also lower your risk of getting scammed in a foreign country. As for having a good experience, learning Spanish can certainly help you a lot in Costa Rica.