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Costa Rican colón facts for kids

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Costa Rican colón
colón costarricense
ISO 4217 Code CRC
User(s)  Costa Rica
Inflation 4.74% (Jan. - Dec. 2011)
Source Índice de Precios al Consumidor 2011, INEC Costa Rica, 3 January 2012
1/100 céntimo
Plural colones
Coins 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500 colones
Banknotes 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 colones

The colón is the official currency of Costa Rica. It is named after Christopher Columbus, known as Cristóbal Colón in Spanish. The plural is colones in Spanish. The ISO 4217 code is CRC.

The symbol for the colón is a c with two slashes (₡). The symbol for the colón in many English language Windows keyboards can be made by pressing ALT+8353.

The colón sign is not the same as the US cent sign, but the US cent sign is much more commonly available (¢). As such, it is frequently used instead of the colón's own sign in price markings and advertisements.

The colón is divided into 100 centimos


The colón was introduced in 1896 and replaced the Costa Rican peso. Between 1917 and 1919 coins were issued using the name centavo for the 1/100 subunit.


First coins, 1897–1917

In 1897 gold 2, 5, 10 and 20 colones were issued. Later, silver 50 centimos and cupro-nickel 2 centimos were issued in 1903. In 1905 silver 5 and 10 centimos were issued. The 5 and 10 centimos had the initials G.C.R. (Gobierno de Costa Rica) because they were issued by the government.

Government coins, 1920–1941

The government resumed in 1920 making 5 and 10 centimos coins with the G.C.R initials. Silver 25 centimos coins were made in 1925. The last government issued coins were brass 10 centimos coins in 1941.

Banco Internacional coins, 1935

In 1935, the International Bank of Costa Rica (Banco Internacional de Costa Rica) issued cupro-nickel coins of 25 and 50 centimos and 1 colón. These had the initials B.I.C.R.

Banco Nacional coins, 1937–1948

The National Bank made 25 and 50 centimos coins in 1937. This bank also issued 1 colón coins. These coins had the initials B.N.C.R. 5 and 10 centimos coins were made in 1942. 2 colones coins were made in 1948.

Banco Central coins, 1951–

The Central Bank of Costa Rica took over coin production in 1951. These coins had the initials B.C.C.R. (Banco Central de Costa Rica).

The first Banco Central coins were 5 and 10 centimos. Then 1 and 2 colones coins in 1954. In 1965, 50 centimos coins were made. 25 centimos coins were made in 1967.

By 1983, 5 and 10 centimos coins were discontinued. 25 centimos to 2 colon coins were made smaller in size. By this time 5, 10 and 20 colon coins were made.

By 1998, small brass 1, 5 and 10 colon coins were made. In this same year 25, 50 & 100 colones coins were added. In 2003, 500 colones coins were made. In 2006 aluminium 5 and 10 colones coins were made.

1 colón coins are no longer used. In 2009 the large silver-colored ¢5, ¢10 & ¢20 were withdrawn. There are only the smaller silver-colored ¢5 and ¢10 coins and gold-colored ¢5, ¢10, ¢25, ¢50, ¢100 & ¢500 coins.

Currency peg

On February 6, 2011, the United States dollar was worth 508.11 colones. The colón has had an unusual relationship with the U.S. dollar that may best be described as a "crawling peg"; instead of being defined by a constant value to the dollar, the colón instead would grow progressively weaker at a fixed rate of about 3.294 colones per dollar per month. On October 16, 2006, however, this crawling peg was modified due to weakness in the U.S. dollar and the perception that the colón is now undervalued. The exchange rate is now free to float within a currency band referenced to the United States dollar. The floor of the band has been set at a fixed value, while the ceiling changes at a fixed rate. In practice the exchange rate has remained fixed at the lower value of the currency band.

Since October 17, 2006 the colón is no longer bound to controlled devaluations (known in Costa Rica as minidevaluaciones) by the Central Bank of Costa Rica. With the new system, sistema cambiario de bandas, the exchange rates posted by the Central Bank are a "reference" and each authorized financial institution can determine their value independently in hopes that the free market will provide a mechanism to keep them reasonable.


The colón is sometimes referred to as the peso, which was the name of the Costa Rican currency before the colón, until 1896. This is very common across Latin American countries, where most have (or had at some point) currencies called pesos. Another nickname is caña (Spanish for sugar cane, plural cañas) but this nickname is more often used in plural for amounts under 100 colones. For example: 5 cañas, 10 cañas, 20 cañas. This term has become less popular.

Teja (roof tile in Spanish) is used as another nickname. It means one hundred colones. For example: five hundred colones are called "cinco tejas". "Teja" can also be used for 100,000 colones. "Media Teja" (half a roof tile in Spanish) is used for 50 colones or 50,000 colones.

The one thousand colones note is called "un rojo" (one red) because of its red color.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Colón (moneda de Costa Rica) para niños

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