Currency in Costa Rica

The local currency in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colón. The name comes from Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon), who also gave the country its name. Its ISO code is CRC, the symbol is ₡. The smaller currency sub-unit is Centimo. There are coins and banknotes in circulation in the denominations of 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 and 100 colones, as well as banknotes in the denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 colones. The 5 colones note is considered the most beautiful banknote in the world. It depicts the scene of the ceiling painting of the Teatro Nacional in Sane José.

History of Costa Rica’s Currency

The Colon has suffered from severe inflation in the past. The colon was introduced in 1897 and replaced the peso, which was very popular in Central America.

In 1914 banknotes with denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 colones were put into circulation.

Between 1917 and 1919, instead of the Centimo subunit, coins called Centavo were minted.

In the following years, as a result of inflation, numerous other banknotes with higher denominations were put into circulation.

In 2010 the banknotes were reissued so that old banknotes can only be exchanged at the National Bank.

Exchange to local currency

Payments in US dollars are not a problem in Costa Rica and are quite common. The dollar is accepted and often even preferred, especially in tourist regions. But be careful: it is better not to take 100 dollar bills with you, these are almost nowhere accepted as there is a lot of counterfeit money in circulation. Outside the tourist areas, e.g. B. in small towns only the local currency is accepted in shops, bars or restaurants.

It is advisable to exchange Euros for the Colon only in Costa Rica, as the exchange rate is better than an exchange in Germany. On the other hand, it makes sense to have small amounts of US dollars in your wallet, for example to pay for a taxi from the airport to your hotel.

Euros can be exchanged in banks that are open Monday to Friday. Hotels and airports also offer the service, but at a lower exchange rate. Currency exchange on the street should be avoided at all costs.

The current exchange rates to the euro or US dollar fluctuate daily.