Banking Info for Costa Rica

Exchanging U.S. Dollars

If you use a government bank make sure your dollars 
are not ripped, dirty nor worn, as they may be rejected
by the bank as "bad" which I interpreted as counterfiet.
However the bills were genuine, but the Banco National de
Costa Rica would not touch them. Sometimes they may not
accept hundereds at all, just because it is a hunderd.
But the above advice applies to bills of all denominations.

This bill was refused because it ws ripped:

This bill was refused because Franklin's face was too worn:


In some places outside San Jose there might only be a Banco National branch.

But if you are in the capital, Scotiabank will exchange them without any service charge and without much waiting, just go straight to the teller. They are open until 4PM.

Another bank that would accept them but charges a 1% commision on every exchange is BanCrecen. Their main selling point is that they have branches open until 9PM.


Devaluation Date Colones/US$ 1 yr. 2 yr. 3 yr. 4 yr. 5 yr. 6 yr. 7 yr. 8 yr. 9 yr. 1/1/93 138 1/1/94 152 10.1% 1/1/95 166 9.2% 20.3% 1/1/96 195 17.5% 28.3% 41.3% 1/1/97 220 12.8% 32.5% 44.7% 59.4% 1/1/98 244 10.9% 25.1% 47.0% 60.5% 76.8% 1/1/99 271 11.1% 23.2% 39.0% 63.3% 78.3% 96.4% 1/1/00 298 10.0% 22.1% 35.5% 52.8% 79.5% 96.1% 115.9% 1/1/01 318 6.7% 17.3% 30.3% 44.5% 63.6% 91.6% 109.2% 130.4% 1/1/02 340 6.9% 14.1% 25.5% 39.3% 54.6% 74.4% 104.8% 123.7% 146.4% 1/1/03 381 12.1% 1/1/04 418 9.7% 1/1/05 459 9.8% 1/1/06 498 8.5% 1/1/07 519 4.2% 1/1/08 501 -3.5% 1/1/09 560 11.8% 1/1/10 571 1.9% 1/1/11 518 -9.3% 1/1/12 518 0% 1/1/13 514 -0.8% 1/1/14 507 -1.4% 1/1/15 532 4.9% 1/1/16 537 0.9% 1/1/17 547 1.8%


As of October 17, 2006 Banco Central de Costa Rica is not fixing
a strict exchnage rate but allowing a free market to float in a range.
Any bank, private or public, can offer any rate in the range at any 
time. You can check the rates here at BCCR for all banks.

On the first day on free market trading the worst place for exchanging dollars to colones was Cambio Global Exchange which only gave you 472 per $1. The best was Cooperativa COOPEMEX which gave you 521 per $1, a 10% diffrence.
And to change back colones to dollars -- the best was Citibank giving $1 for every 521 colones and the worst was, again, Cambio Global Exchange which you had to give 538 to get $1.

See a similar page
Monthly Exchange Rate 1992-1999 (La Nacion) Monthly Exchange Rate 2000-2001 (La Nacion) Costa Rica Inflation 2001 (La Nacion) Costa Rica Inflation 2000 (La Nacion) Costa Rica Inflation 1999 (La Nacion) Costa Rica Inflation 1998 (La Nacion) Costa Rica Inflation 1997 (La Nacion) 10 year history from BCCR

homepage