Costa Rica National Currency: The Costa Rican Colón

Are you planning a trip to Costa Rica? Before you go, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the Costa Rica National Currency, the Costa Rican Colón. In this article, we will delve into the history, current status, exchange rates, and other important details about the Colón. So, let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of Costa Rica’s currency!

The Costa Rican Colón is the official currency of Costa Rica, a beautiful country located in Central America. It has been the legal tender since 1896, replacing the Costa Rican Peso. The currency is named after Christopher Columbus, referred to as Cristóbal Colón in Spanish.

Historical Background of Costa Rica National Currency

The history of the Costa Rican Colón dates back to the late 19th century when Costa Rica faced economic instability. The introduction of the Colón aimed to stabilize the country’s economy and facilitate trade. Over the years, the currency has undergone various changes in design and denominations.

Design and Denominations

The Costa Rican Colón comes in both coins and banknotes. Coins are available in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 Colones. Banknotes are available in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 Colones. The banknotes showcase prominent figures from Costa Rican history and iconic natural landscapes.

Exchange Rates

The exchange rate of the Costa Rican Colón fluctuates in relation to other major currencies, such as the US Dollar and the Euro. It’s important to stay updated on the current exchange rates, especially if you’re planning to visit Costa Rica or engage in international transactions.

Acceptance and Usage

The Colón is widely accepted throughout Costa Rica, and it’s the primary form of payment for most transactions within the country. However, in popular tourist areas, US Dollars are also accepted. It’s advisable to carry both Colones and US Dollars to ensure smooth transactions during your visit.

Security Features in Costa Rica National Currency

To prevent counterfeiting, the Costa Rican Colón incorporates several security features. Banknotes have watermarks, security threads, and holographic elements. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with these features to ensure you’re dealing with genuine currency.

Foreign Currency Exchange

If you’re traveling to Costa Rica, you can exchange your currency for Colones at various authorized exchange centers, banks, or airports. It’s recommended to compare exchange rates and fees to get the best value for your money.

Tips for Handling Colones

When using Colones, it’s essential to be aware of the denominations to avoid confusion. Familiarize yourself with the currency’s appearance and practice counting it before your trip. Additionally, always keep smaller denominations for smaller transactions, as it may be difficult to get change for larger bills.

Interesting Facts about Costa Rica National Currency

  • The plural form of Colón is Colones.
  • The currency symbol for the Costa Rican Colón is ₡.
  • The Colón is a decimal currency, divided into 100 centimos.
  • The banknotes are made from a durable polymer material to increase longevity.
  • Costa Rica is one of the few countries that have maintained the same currency for over a century.

Impact of Tourism on the Colón

As Costa Rica attracts a significant number of tourists each year, the tourism industry has a substantial impact on the Colón. The exchange rates and local economy can be influenced by fluctuations in tourism. It’s advisable to monitor these factors to better understand the value of the currency during your visit.

Future of the Costa Rica National Currency

While there have been discussions about adopting the US Dollar as the official currency, Costa Rica continues to use the Colón. The government has expressed its commitment to preserving the national currency. However, it’s essential to stay informed about any potential changes that may occur in the future.


The Costa Rican Colón is a fascinating currency with a rich history and unique features. Whether you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica or simply interested in learning about different currencies, understanding the Colón is essential. By familiarizing yourself with its denominations, exchange rates, and security features, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the financial landscape of this beautiful country.


1. Can I use US Dollars in Costa Rica?

Yes, US Dollars are widely accepted in Costa Rica, especially in tourist areas. However, it’s advisable to carry some Colones for smaller transactions and to be aware of the current exchange rates.

2. Where can I exchange currency in Costa Rica?

Currency exchange services are available at banks, authorized exchange centers, and airports throughout Costa Rica. It’s recommended to compare rates and fees to ensure you get the best value.

3. Is it better to use cash or credit cards in Costa Rica?

While both cash and credit cards are accepted in Costa Rica, it’s advisable to carry some cash, especially in smaller towns or rural areas where card acceptance may be limited.

4. Can I withdraw Colones from ATMs in Costa Rica?

Yes, you can withdraw Colones from ATMs in Costa Rica. However, be mindful of any transaction fees and inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any issues.

5. What is the best time to visit Costa Rica in terms of exchange rates?

Exchange rates fluctuate over time, and it’s challenging to predict the best time to visit based solely on rates. It’s advisable to monitor the exchange rates leading up to your trip and make informed decisions accordingly.


  • Costa Rican Colón – Wikipedia:
  • The Central Bank of Costa Rica:

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