San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica circulates new ₡1,000 and ₡2,000 bills

Get rid of old ₡1,000 and ₡2,000 notes before they lose their value at the beginning of September.

The Central Bank of Costa Rica (BCCR) put two glossy bills – a ₡1,000 and a ₡2,000 – into circulation this week. Meanwhile, the bank will begin phasing out the old bills of the same denomination.

The new banknotes debuted Monday. On Sept. 1, the old ₡1,000 bill and ₡2,000 bill will no longer have a value. However, they can be redeemed at branches and agencies of local banks, according to a Central Bank press release. By Nov. 1, the old notes can solely be exchanged at the Central Bank headquarters in downtown San José.

The new colones are already available at bank branches, agencies and ATMs throughout the country.

Two Thousand colones bill

The bills are part of a series started last September of new currency being released by the Central Bank, beginning with the introduction of a ₡20,000 bill. The Central Bank will release a ₡50,000 bill in December, the highest valued bill the country has ever put into circulation. In addition, new ₡5,000 and ₡10,000 bills will be introduced in the latter part of this year.

Costa Rica retired a commemorative ₡500 coin in November 2010 (TT, Oct. 25, 2010). The coin featuring an engraved image of the Central Bank no longer has a value, and can be redeemed at the bank for the standard ₡500 coin.

In a press release, the BCCR said the old bills had run their course and it was time to replace them with fresher looking notes that also have more sophisticated designs to prevent counterfeiting.

Know Your Bills

The ₡1,000 bill, often called a “rojo” in slang because of its red color, will now feature an image of former president Braulio Carrillo on the front. On the back, an image of a deer grazes next to a pitaya (the plant that produces dragon fruit). Among several security features is a translucent leaf-shaped watermark that changes from red to gold.

The blue ₡2,000 bill will display a bearded image of politician Mauro Fernández Acuña on one side. The flip side of the bill shows an underwater scene that includes a coral reef and a bull shark. A watermark of Costa Rica changes from purple to green.


Channel 7 news program Telenoticias reported that even few Ticos knew who the political figures were that graced the front of the new bills. Learn some Costa Rican history on who’s who on the old and new ₡1,000 and ₡2,000 bills:

Tomás Soley Güell (old ₡1,000 bill)

An economist at the turn of the 20th century in Costa Rica, Güell founded what would become the country’s National Insurance Institute.

Clodomiro Picado (old ₡2,000 bill)

Nicaraguan-born scientist who pioneered research in using snake anti-venom to cure poisonous snakes bites. An institution in the Central Valley that does exactly that is named after Picado.

Braulio Carrillo (new ₡1,000 bill)

Costa Rica’s president twice during the 1830s. He helped promote the country’s agricultural economy and built the highway linking San José to the Caribbean coast.

Mauro Fernández Acuña (new ₡2,000 bill)

Costa Rican politician in the late 1800s who played major roles in the judiciary, the Legislative Assembly and in reforming the country’s educational institutes.

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