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Costa Rican Currency

The official currency in Costa Rica is the Colon with a currency code of (CRC) divided into 100 Centimos.

Historical Exchange Rates with the US Dollar


From 2009 to 2011 the currency has been fluctuating quite a bit. The colon went from a high or around 580 to a low of 490. The Costa Rican governement regulates this so it should not go below 500 most days. The exchange rate can change by the minute so be careful in banking transactions.

One can more or less get a good idea of how much things cost by using the formula of $1 USD = 500 colones.

Currency currently comes in denominations of:

10,000 bill that is dark blue with a Puma on one side and Emma Gamboa on the other. PIC

5,000 bill that is light blue with a Gold Art piece on one side and a jungle scape on the other. PIC

2,000 bill that is purple, green, white & red with a hammer head shark & dolphin on one side and Clodomro Picado T on the other. PIC

1,000 bill that is red with the central bank on one side and Tomas Soley Guell on the other. PIC

And coins of 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. PIC

The appearance of the currency will be changing soon as announced in the national news paper LA NACION on June 23rd 2009 in the Economy Section.

Note: Many people say that you can use dollars or travelers checks anywhere in Costa Rica, this is not true. Most small local businesses will not accept foreign currencies including dollars. It is very important to hold the local currency. Some but not all places receive US dollars.

As of June 2011 the Costa Rican government just released new bills for 1000 and 2000 denominations here they are:

New 1000 and 2000 Costa Rican colones bills in paper form please take note of this important change in appearance!

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