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It's a bad sign when San José banks have televisions to watch while you pass the time in the horrendous lines. Bypass that process and get cash with your ATM card instead. Cash machines inside a bank, during the day while a guard keeps watch, are your safest bet.

Banks/ATMs

BAC San José. Avda. 2, Cs. Central–1, Barrio El Carmen, San José, 10104. 2295–9797; www.bac.net.

Banco Nacional. Avda. 1, Cs. 2–4, Barrio La Merced, San José, 10102. 2212–2000; www.bncr.fi.cr.

Scotiabank. C. 5, Avdas. Central–2, behind Teatro Nacional, Barrio La Soledad, San José, 10101. 2521–5680; www.scotiabankcr.com.