Vacation Gambling: 5 Money-Minded Tips for Costa Rica’s Casinos

Nestled between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica is Central America’s Vegas, so to speak, offering dozens of hotel casinos for gambling. Unless you’ve staked out one of Costa Rica’s sandy beaches permanently, chances are you’ll come across the opportunity to throw down a fifty spot and play a hand. Whether you’re interested in Costa Rica family vacation packages, or a weekend getaway with the girls, the country has plenty to do, including gambling galore.

Some of the largest and chicest casinos are Casino Club Colonial, Casino Hotel Royal Dutch, and Casino Flamingo Beach Resort, all of which offer tables of poker, black jack, roulette, slot machines, and tasty drinks specials, and more. There are also countless other spots to try your luck in casinos across Costa Rica, so even if you don’t consider yourself a gambler, try one of the tables or slot machines during your getaway for fun. A little advice for first time visitors? Vacation gambling gets addicting. Prep yourself mentally for the inevitable “oh, okay… just one more hand,” with these five tips—you’ll keep your cool and maybe even walk away a winner.

1. Bring Out a Specific Amount of Money 

Don’t leave your hotel with more than you want to lose. Seriously. Ditch your credit or debit cards at your hotel room so you’re not tempted to take out money. Start small if you’ve never gambled before. You can find some lower level blackjack tables during the day in most casinos, so look for these. You play only against the dealer, and $50 can get you far at a $10 minimum bet table with good luck. Slot machines are also a fun way to drop coins and pass the time for slow starters.

2. Pocket Your Original Investment

Gambling, especially for first time casino-goers, can be a huge rush. Picture this: You’re sitting at the blackjack table and your pile of chips is getting bigger and bigger (if luck is on your side, of course). At that point, it’s a good idea to create a separate stack of chips that signifies your original investment, and another for your winnings. Once you’re up, try only to gamble out of your winnings and not out of the original stack of chips you paid for. That way if you “lose,” you can still cash in and come out even.

3. Set A Limit for Yourself

Know when to stop. If you lose your money, it’s okay. Approach it like a game or a night’s entertainment. And don’t overdraft your bank account because you have your heart set on winning it back. Instead, think about how much money you’d spend at a night club or going out for dinner and a movie, and approach the casino like that. On a big night out, you could drop anywhere from 1oo to 200 bucks, so don’t sweat it too much. But know when to call it a night, and when to walk away.

4. Try a Bunch of Casinos

Vacation gambling is really about people watching, and enjoying different atmospheres. Casino buildings can be beautiful inside (think Las Vegas) so take time to look around. Don’t post up in one casino for the whole day. Instead, set aside a few hours to gamble and move to a few different casinos to check out their different vibes. Grab a drink, stroll around, play some slots, and move on when you feel like you’ve had enough. All sorts of tourists and people gamble on vacation, and games like blackjack where you only play against the dealer can be a surprisingly social event.

5. Gamble In A Group

Like any night out, it’s smart to play the buddy system for safety reasons. Casinos are no different. You probably wouldn’t go to a nightclub alone, so don’t hit the casinos alone either. $$ Saver Hint: lay off the booze when you’re throwing around money… you’ll take more financial risks and be less smart if you’re tipsy.