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Costa Rican Colones Explained

Costa Rica is quickly becoming a haven for Americans. US Citizens are investing in property and setting up their second homes in this tropical country. Understanding the colón is one of the few hurdles newcomers to Costa Rica have to overcome.

Money in Costa Rica is called: colones – or colons to English-speaking residents. Colones, named after Christóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus) and replaced the peso in 1896. Its subunit is called a céntime (not to be confused with the peso’s centavos.) 100 céntimo equals one colón. Sometimes, a colon is still incorrectly but acceptably referred to as a peso. Another slang term is teja, referring to the 100 colón bill and coin. 1,000 colón bills are called rojo, and 5,000 colón bills are called tucán.

The colón was the currency in El Salvador until the US dollar replaced it. (Don’t get excited. This isn’t a predicted trend – yet.) Coins of 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, and 500 colones are common. Rare colones, such as the half and single colón are rarely used. If you come across one of them, keep it. Colones are also printed in paper money of 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10000 colones.

At the beginning of 2007, roughly 520 colones equaled one US dollar. Costa Rican currency grows progressively weaker by a few colones per month. For up-to-the minute dollars-to-colones exchange rates, go to The Central Bank of Costa Rica’s website ( and watch the banner at the top of the site. Visitors to Costa Rica can exchange American dollars to colones at banks and hotels. Most credit cards are accepted at larger establishments, but travelers need to have local currency on hand for smaller or more remote businesses.

How do Americans use the colones? Very well, actually. Because of the exchange rate, it takes significantly fewer US dollars to live well in Costa Rica, the most stable of all Latin-American countries. Tourism is by far their largest industry. Their peace-prize winning president, Oscar Arias Sánchez, considers free trade with the United States the solution to their economic problems. Costa Rican economic development is among the highest in the West, and foreign investors are welcome.

Visitors should shy away from bringing one hundred dollar bills to Costa Rica. Too many phonies have made their way to Latin American. Many exchange places will not accept the American 0. Some banks may actually even confiscate them! Also, make sure your bills are in good condition. If they’re the least bit torn, they are no good in other countries. Costa Rican businesses are on alert for unacceptable dollars.

American visitors to Costa Rica should familiarize themselves with colones before their arrival in the country. Traveler’s checks and US dollar bills should be exchanged. Fluctuating exchange rates makes it imperative that visitors check the currency exchange rates before their trip. Taking care of these money matters will ensure a pleasant and hassle-free stay in Costa Rica.

by David Lovendahl, Costa Vista Marketing

About the Author: Costa Vista Land ( is 'developing paradise' in Costa Rica. The company buys raw land in large quantities after they have thoroughly surveyed and researched all details. Because of this, Costa Vista Land acquires their properties at discount prices and develops them in less than 18 months. Hence the unique program in which you can obtain developed land at undeveloped prices and why company President, Brad Hogan says, "We are an investment company first and a land sale company second." Parcel choices range from valleys to mountains, to beautiful coastline property. This lucrative program comes with 100% money back guarantee. Everyone is encouraged to visit Costa Rica, stand on their property and see the beautiful country they have invested in. While visiting, the company pays for your accommodations, meals and transportation.

For more information contact 1-877-55-COSTA. And Grab Your Free 50 Minute CD Now, by clicking here:

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