Couponing is a great way to save money while in Costa Rica. By using prepaid coupons, you can save as much as 50% off the list price of tours, products, and food. Collecting flyers at food courts is also a neat idea, and can get you some good savings if you eat frequently at malls.
Online coupons are, by far, the most popular in Costa Rica. There's two large, reputable sites that sell online coupons:
- Yuplon.com operated by Grupo Nacion, a local newspaper.
- Titicupon.com operated by Repretel, a local media group.
Both sites work through newsletters that you can subscribe to, and have facebook pages you can join. Once a day, they send out a list of their available coupons. If you're interested, you purchase the coupon using your credit card, and print it out. The coupon will have a unique serial number on it, used to validate it. Once you're ready, you head over to the store or operator to redeem the coupon.
You can also check Yuplon's list daily, in the print edition of local newspapers La Nación and La Teja.
Your coupons are usually valid for 3 months, from date of purchase. If you don't use them, they can be refunded by writing to the customer service department. Refund conditions vary from coupon to coupon,and most of the time what you'll get is a "virtual" refund that you can apply towards other coupon purchases.It's rare you'll actually get money refunded to your credit card.
You should carefully read the conditions before purchasing the coupon. Both Yuplon and Titicupon are pretty straightforward in telling you the limitations and restrictions that apply to each offer. Read them carefully and see if they fit well with your plans. Be especially careful to check for the following limitations:
- Most coupons have days on which they're not valid. Check carefully if you plan to use the coupon on a weekend, or a travel coupon during peak season. Some coupons also exclude December from their validity period.
- Travel coupons are normally subject to available space, which means you have to purchase, and then see what day reservations are available to redeem.
- Travel coupons sometimes exclude transportation: entrance to the attractions goes for the coupon price, but transportation to that attraction is on you, or paid for at regular price. Same goes for food at hotels.
- Coupons at restaurants normally don't include beverages, which are paid for separately.
- Sometimes there's a limit on the amount of coupons per group or per table.
- Many places, especially restaurants, are closed on Mondays or won't accept a coupon on Mondays.
If there's a limitation like the above, you'll be made aware of it through the conditions stated on the website, before you purchase. So don't just skim through the terms.
If you need additional information, Yuplon and Titicupon list the address and phone number of the associated seller. You can call them to clear up any questions you might have regarding the offers.
There's no clip-and-save coupons in newspapers here, unfortunately. Occasionally you see a coupon in a newspaper of magazine, but it's rare and the offers aren't really that spectacular. Best to go the online route for coupons in Costa Rica.
Stop by the food courts at shopping malls. Many times you'll find people handing out flyers with specials on them. These are normally valid for several months, so you can keep stopping by and collecting them during your trip.
Frequent diner cardsEdit
Most fast food, and many non fast food restaurants have loyalty programs, where after 4 or 5 meals you get a free one. Be sure to ask at the counter for loyalty cards, which can get you a free lunch or two during your trip.
50% off with American ExpressEdit
Credomatic , a local credit card company, sometimes has 50% off specials at restaurants if you pay with American Express. Check their website for the list of participating restaurants, as well as other discounts and offers you can find if you use your card in hotels or tours.