CRC is the abbreviation for the Costa Rican colon, the currency of the Central American nation. The CRC is subdivided into 100 centimos, which is similar to how a dollar is divided into 100 cents. The Costa Rican colon first came into use in 1896, and this currency replaced the Costa Rican peso.


The Costa Rican colon was named after Christopher Columbus. In Spanish, Columbus is known as Cristobal Colon. In addition, the CRC is occasionally referred to as the peso, which was the name of the currency that preceded the colon. Historically, the colon has had a peg-like relationship with the U.S. dollar, which is described as a crawling peg; this means the colon is allowed to float within a currency band with upper and lower limits determined by the U.S. dollar's value.

Vital Stats and Exchange Rates

The Central Bank of Costa Rica regulates the creation and supply of the colon, or colones in plural form. Denominations for coins include 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500 colones. Bank notes come in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 colones. The larger notes are often shortened to "10 mil" for 10,000 colones because the Spanish word for "thousand" is "mil." The bills use the word "mil" to denote this value.

In April 2016, $1 equaled approximately 529 Costa Rican colones. The symbol of the Costa Rican colon is a stylized C with two lines through it that looks like this: _. The currency is noted for its bright colors and depictions of nature on one side and key figures of Costa Rican history on the other side.


Each banknote has two aspects of nature endemic to the Central American nation. The 5 mil banknote shows a monkey and a crab, while the 10 mil depicts a sloth and a flowering plant. Base colors of the currency include red, yellow, blue, green, purple and reddish-orange. Every bill has an identifying watermark. Tourists can purchase a commemorative 5 colon bill that depicts a mural on one side and Costa Rica's national flower on the other. The 20 mil piece was named one of the most beautiful banknotes in the world by Time magazine. This bill shows a hummingbird in flight and a flower on one side.


The Central Bank of Costa Rica specializes in exchanging several foreign currencies for tourists who enter the country. This bank buys and sells euros, U.S. dollars, British pounds, Canadian dollars and Swiss francs. The bank also purchases currencies from nearby countries such as Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Nicaragua and Guatemala.