QTips – Money

ATM’s & Banks | Exchange Rate | Interest Rate

The colón  (colones plural)  is the official money of Costa Rica, although the dollar is widely accepted.

The Central Bank has been in the process of a change over, introducing new notes that more secure and difficult to counterfeit. The new bills are also more colourful and the old and in September 2102 the ¢50.000 note was introduced.

Currently in circulation are the ¢1.000, ¢2.000, ¢5.000, ¢10.000, ¢20.000 and ¢50.000 notes.
Coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 colones.

IMPORTANT! Take care in not getting stuck with counterfeit US Dollars. Check the notes carefully, even if right out of the ATM and don’t be surprised if the store or bank teller gives it the once over.

Exchange Rate

At this writing, the colón is about 500 to the U.S. dollar and 690 to the euro.  Click here for the current exchange rate as published by the Banco Central. The rate may vary at the bank counter.

Exchange dollars and euros at banks whenever possible. Many retail merchants, hotels or casinos will have an exchange rate NOT in your favour. If you need to exchange at a disfavourable rate exchange only a small amount say $20.

IMPORTANT!  Outdoor money changers are rarely seen on the street anymore, but avoid them if you are approached for we can guarantee you will most certainly get a bad deal, and possible risk robbery.

Even if a currency-exchange booth has a sign promising no commission, rest assured that there’s some kind of huge, hidden fee. (Oh… that’s right. The sign didn’t say no fee.) And as for rates, you’re almost always better off getting foreign currency at an ATM or exchanging money at a bank.


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