The new banknotes are so attractive they even made Time Magazines “most beautiful” list.
Costa Rica’s currency, the colón (colones plural) currently exchanges at around ¢500 per US dollar (Exchange Made Easy). If you think of a ¢5,000 note as ten, and ¢10,000 as twenty-dollar bills you’ll be right on.
Until September of 2006 the currency devalued against the dollar consistently for decades at a rate of about one colón per week. From September of 2006 until early 2014 the exchange rate was artificially locked at about ¢500 to the dollar and in 2014 it took a wild ride losing over 10% of its value but the banks stepped in and in 2015 the exchange rate has stayed around ¢525 per dollar.
The 5 colón note bears a beautiful mural depicting coffee harvesting and exporting on one face and the national flower of Costa Rica on the other. This denomination would only be worth about one cent and is no longer in circulation. However, you can still see the mural if you visit the National Theater.
Many prices for tourists are posted in US dollars.