Costa Rica has some beautiful currency. Full color with indigenous animals and oh yes, political figures from history. The exchange rate was about 500 colones to one dollar. It was troubling at first glance to read the bill from a fancy restaurant that was for 50,000 somethings.
We learned a little history of the cinco colones bill. When the government was designing the bill they hired an artist in Europe to paint a historical scene of the beginnings of Costa Rica. The artist had never been to Costa Rica so he created his own history.
Let’s begin at the left side of the bill.
When Costa Rica first became a country, steam ships had not yet been invented. The coffee industry had not been started so no one would have been carrying sacks of beans. The scene is on a beach. What is a street light doing there? There is a dude holding a bunch of bananas upside down. If you carry bananas like that, all of the bananas will break off. On the right side of the bill is a group of buxom white women in European style clothes. They were definitely not indigenous Costa Ricans. The government didn’t want to pay for another painting, so they used it anyway. It’s a beautiful piece of currency and worth about 1 cent on today’s exchange.