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Converting Costa Rican Currency to USD

Costa Rican currency to USD exchange rates are published each day by the Banco Central de Costa Rica and can be traded on the free market.

What is the currency of Costa Rica

Costa Rica national currency is colon and the Costa Rican economy and its currency are considered among the most stable ones from Central and Latin America.

Costa Rica colon has the symbol CRC and was named after Christopher Columbus or Cristobal Colon in Spanish.

The initial name of the Costa Rican currency was pesos which were replaced at par by a colon in 1896.

Over the years the design of the banknotes had been changed as follows:

  • in 1838 when Costa Rica separated from the Federal Republic- the new design consists of introducing the coffee and tobacco symbol
  • in 1948 when Costa Rica gained its independence- the new design consists of a flag and a shield
  • in 2012 Costa Rica changed the design of the banknotes again and today the most beautiful animals from this country appear on Costa Rica currency: sloth, morpho butterfly, white-faced capuchin monkey, and hummingbird.
Costa Rican Currency

Costa Rican Currency

Today in circulation you will find the following banknotes and coins:

  • banknotes: 1,000 colones, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 y 50,000 colones
  • coins: 1 colon, 5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 and 500 colones.

An interesting thing about the coins is that if you place one on top of the other, you will get a geometrical figure called a cone.

The coins of the local currency that make the cone have in the obverse Costa Rica’s coat of arms

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Costa Rican currency to USD

Costs Rica currency to US Dollar exchange rate is an easy-to-learn process and all you need to know is how many colons you can buy with 1 USD.

At the moment the exchange rate is the following:
1 CRC = 0.0016 USD

Before changing Costa Rica money to USD check the official rate at Central Bank of Costa Rica to avoid any scams.

Money from Costa Rica

Money from CostaRica

American dollars to colons chart (USD to CRC):

1 USD= 620 Colones
2 USD= 1.240 Colones
5 USD= 3.100 Colones
10 USD= 6.200 Colones
20 USD= 12.400 Colones
25 USD= 15.500 Colones
50 USD= 31.000 Colones

Costa Rica colon to USD currency converter (CRC to USD):

1,000 Colones= 1.62 USD
2,000 Colones= 3.23 USD
5,000 Colones= 8.08 USD
10,000 Colones= 16.17 USD
20,000 Colones= 32.33 USD
50,000 Colones= 80.83 USD

Good and bad places to change Costa Rica money to USD

exchange Costa Rica currency to USD in your home country

Most foreign banks outside Costa Rica do not have colones in their portfolio and for this reason, they will charge extra fees for ordering and processing the money.

Some of the most famous United States banks have colones for sales and the rates are quite good so if you are lucky you can exchange some money before you go.

For this reason, we do not advise you to order colones at the banks in your home country as you will pay extra and this makes no sense.

Airport exchange counter

Never exchange money at any airport exchange counter as they have the worst exchange rates in the world. You will pay a lot more for a colon than the rates used by the national bank and most exchange offices.

Withdraw money from ATM card

By far this is the best way to get Costa Rican money as the exchange rates are very close to the rates practiced by the national bank.

The only thing you should take care of is the transaction fees and commissions charged by the bank where you have the card.

There are special cards that have 0 commission when withdrawing from ATM so you should get one before your holiday.


Banks from Costa Rica

Generally, the best exchange rates for Costa Rica currency to US Dollar can be found at Banco de Costa Rica (Central Bank of Costa Rica) but you should look at private banks as some of them have really good rates for exchanging money.

What you need to know when to exchange Costa Rican currency to USD at a bank office is that most banks practice high fees for any transaction they did not mention the long queues, increased number of papers you have to fill in, and the complicated procedures.

Costa Rican currency to USD

CostaRican currency to USD

Paying with US dollars at shops, restaurants, bars, and supermarkets

United States dollars are widely accepted in Costa Rica so you can pay with US dollars at most shops, bars, restaurants, and hotels.

Even if you pay with USD you will get your change in Costa Rican colon and some of the places also have a poor exchange rate so you will end up paying more for the same items.

Another thing which you should know is that most stores and restaurants do not accept high dollar bills.

The maximum USD accepted is in banknotes of 20 USD and I strongly advise you to have 1 USD bill with you as you will need them a lot.

If the menu is in USD then you should pay with USD to be sure that you won’t have an exchange rate commission applied for Costa Rica currency to USD.


Hotels have among the worst exchange rates in the country and extremely high fees and commissions so we strongly advise you to pay in colons using your credit or debit card, especially if you have a 0 fee card.

For this reason, I strongly advise you not to exchange money at your hotel; better go to a bank or to an exchange office.

Credit cards or debit cards

The exchange rates used when paying with credit cards or debit cards are very close to the official rate communicated by the Central Bank of Costa Rica, but watch out for card fees.

Make sure you have a 0 fee card before leaving the country and if you don’t have one get it really quick as it is extremely convenient to use the cards when travel to Costa Rica.

Most stores, restaurants, and hotels accept credit cards in CostaRica and if you have small transaction fees or even 0 commission card, then paying with a card is the best option when traveling to Costa Rica.


I am quite sure that you are not wondering if there are Costa Rica dollars or Colones after reading this article and everything becomes clear now.

You have the exchange rates for colones and US dollars, which are pluses and minuses of using different ways of payments and how to save money when traveling abroad.

All you have to do is to pack your bags and hit the road as a wonderful country and many stunning natural attractions are waiting to be discovered.


Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation
We always use as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance
We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money.

When we go for longer trips around the world we get Globelink Insurance as it offers a good cover for an affordable price.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected costs caused by medical events like illness, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.