Due to many tourists coming to Costa Rica, most major businesses in Costa Rica accept credit and debit cards; the most commonly accepted are American Express, Visa and MasterCard. Visa is the most widely used card in the country, as it is in much of Central and South America.
However, while some places will accept credit cards, the likelihood of this diminishes the further you go out into the countryside. There are several reasons an establishment may not accept credit cards.
For example, merchant service charges for credit card machines can be prohibitively expensive in some parts of the country, while other areas may not have the most reliable electrical service, making running a card reader more of a hassle than it’s worth. As such, keep enough cash on you to handle everyday expenses like meals, but don’t carry so much that you’ll worry about losing it or becoming a victim of theft.