In downtown San José, about 150 meters north of Banco Popular, you will find an establishment called La Casa de Moneda (mint). It really isn’t a place where money is minted but a type of museum where different types of money are displayed, sold and bought. The owner is Gerardo Suárez whose nickname is “The man of the paper money” (el Señor de los Billetes in Spanish) whose passion is buying and selling currency from 200 countries around the world. The idea was born because this type of business did not exist in Costa Rica before don Gerardo opened his store. Almost every day collectors from all over he country come there to see what new bills and coins have arrived.
Among the many items found in this unique store are boletos de café made of plastic metal or paper. In the old days the owners of coffee farms would pay the coffee pickers with these tokens who in turn would go to the nearest company store or comisariato and pay for merchandise and food with the boletos. Then the owner of the business would go to the owner of the finca and exchange the boletos for money. The workers of the coffee farm would also exchange the boletos the pickers earned for money once a week.
To contact La Casa de Monedas by telephone call: 8969-8577
Here is some interesting information for retirees about Costa Rican Money.
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 slang name is caña (Spanish for sugar cane) this term is more often used in its plural form and for amounts under 100 colones. This term has become less common.
- Teja (roof tile) is the slang term for one hundred colones.
- The former five hundred colones note was called “morado” (purple) because of its color, but it is no longer in circulation.
- The one thousand colones note is called “un rojo” (one red) because of its color. This also applies for any amounts that are multiples of a thousand colones (e.g. twenty thousand colones is veinte rojos).
- The five thousand colones note used to be called called tucán (toucan), referring to the picture of a toucan on it. It was also be named “una libra” (one pound), although this term is no longer in common use. The new 5000 colón bill is yellow has a monkey on it and not a tucán.
- The ten thousand colones note used also known as un puma, referring to the puma printed on one of its faces. This new bill has a slouth on the back (oso perezoso).