Costa Rica Blog
Costa Rica Blog

Costa Rican Currency Gets a Facelift – New Banknotes Introduced


If you are planning a vacation to Costa Rica, then look out for the shiny new banknotes. The colorful ¢1.000 and ¢2.000 bank notes were put into circulation by the Central Bank of Costa Rica on Monday, June 20th 2011. The introduction of the new banknotes coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Central Bank of Costa Rica.

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Spend a Pretty Penny with New Costa Rica Currency

Costa Rica is not only well known for being a popular beach vacation destination; currency collectors have long held this paradise country’s bank note design in high esteem, and the latest editions are no exception. Notable for their bold and significant design, the new bank notes include images depicting the country’s biodiversity, with drawings representative of six ecosystems. The front of each note also features important historical figures that have contributed to Costa Rica’s democracy.

The new notes were printed by French company, Oberthur Technologies, with all but the ¢1,000-colon denomination protected by Crane’s windowed security thread, Motion.

The new Costa Rican bank notes have more advanced security features:

Touch – The printed number and historical figures face are embossed onto the note.

Look – A hidden image of the historical figure can be seen when held up to the light.

Turn – When you tilt the note you will notice that the certain symbols on the note will change color along with the security thread.
The notes are made of a plastic that is three times as durable as the current cotton fiber paper.
The notes are different in size and have also been designed to include embossed dots so that they are easily distinguishable by people with visual disability.

New Costa Rica Currency Design Depicts Country’s Biodiversity

• ¢1.000 – A red bank note featuring the Costa Rican Head of State, Braulio Carrillo on the front. The eco system of the dry forest is depicted on the back of the note which includes the Guanacaste tree, a national symbol of Costa Rica and a deer.
• ¢2.000 – A blue bank note featuring Mauro Fernández Acuña, a Costa Rican politician and lawyer who successfully reformed the country’s educational system. On the reverse of the banknote is an image depicting Costa Rica’s coral reef ecosystem featuring a Bull Shark, star fish, and sea turtles.

New Design of Currency in Costa Rica

The new designs form part of a new set of bank notes that include:
• ¢ 5000 and ¢10,000 – the equivalent of approximately $10 and $20
And the introduction of higher denominations of:
¢20,000 and ¢50,000 – the equivalent of approximately $40 and $100

The new ¢20,000 bank notes were introduced on the 22nd of December 2010 and the ¢50,000 bank note is scheduled for release December of this year.

In with the New: Do You Have Any Old Costa Rican Currency?

If you have visited this beautiful country before and have Costa Rican money saved up for your next trip, take note that the old currency will no longer be legal tender after the 1st of September, although banks will continue to accept until the 1st of November. If you have old Costa Rican currency in the aforementioned denominations after this date, you can exchange them for legal tender at the Central Bank (Banco Central) in San Jose.  Go here for a list of Costa Rica banks and branches.