These are my coins. Some are now out of circulation, like the two different "one" colón. Notice there are three different 5 colónes and three different 10 colónes coins. The new coins for 5 and 10 colónes (added in 2006) are now made of aluminum and are as thin as paper. You can hardly pick one off a table with your fingernails. Think THIN, very thin and lightweight. The 500 colónes (added in 2003) is a large sized coin and it replaced the 500 colónes bill they had when I first visited here in 2000. These are good for tipping (worth less than a dollar now) but they can get heavy when you have a few of them. The newly minted 500 colónes coin is a very flashy gold color and will brighten any child's eyes. Good for a ice cream or the local granasada (creamy, syrup-y, shaved ice drink).
There are only four bills in circulation today. The 10,000 colónes (added in 1997) is worth the most but that's only $19.23 at today's value. We need a bigger bill! The exchange rate changes daily. Imagine withdrawing $1000. in colónes from the bank... it's A LOT of BILLS!! I had to pay cash (in colónes) for my car and it was a scary experience carrying all that money around. I wanted to play in it, too! More money than I'd ever seen in my life but it seemed like monopoly money, at the time.
The locals call a 10000 colones bill a "Puma" for the cougar on it. The 5000 colones is called a "Toucan" and the 2000 and 1000 colones were coined their names by their color, "Verde" and "Rojo". Simple and memorable. They like to talk in "code". Some call the 2000 colones a "Tiburón" (shark).
Nostalgic moment: When I was young, VERY young, my dad thought it was "cute" when I would ask for money by naming the President on the bill. I learned all the names by washing and ironing his money.
Money fascinated me even then. My dad would give me my allowance in Silver Dollars knowing I would rather save it instead of spending it. That's when asking for a "Ben Franklin" or "George" would come in handy. Good ole Dad would always come through and let me save my special coins.
Back to Costa Rica currency....
These bills are no longer used. Aren't they pretty? A couple of them look like they need a wash and iron! The five colónes bill is sold as a souvenir.
The Costa Rica Colón - Click onto link if you are interested, too!