Our trip to Costa Rica was pretty uneventful. We went to visit family in Rio Claro and it is not one of the most exciting places in Costa Rica to visit. The only real eventful moment was eating in El Parqueo Bar Y Restaurante.
We stopped in to get a couple ice cream sundaes and when we went to pay we gave a 10,000 Colon bill + coins. When the change came, it was change for a 5,000 Colon. We told the waitress that we had given a 10,000 and she went back to the cashier and returned with a 5,000 and coins saying that was what the casher said he was given.
We knew different because we only had bills of 10,000 and this was just the old scam of giving change for a smaller bill. It is not all that unusual for a gringo to receive this sort of treatment, but it is still unfortunate that businesses feel they need to lie and steal to make ends meet.
Since they obviously need publicity, I decided to give them some. If you happen to be in Rio Claro and need to eat, my recommendation is to tell the waitress, when you give them the payment, the denomination of the money you are giving them. That will discourage thievery by the cashier and or waitress. At the current exchange rate of 581 colons per dollar, 5,000 colons comes out to be about $8.60.