“One Sloth Equals Two Monkeys”

In my welcome meetings for tours starting in San José I attempt present the Costa Rican currency, colones, in a simple way. Simple, as in presenting to 4-year-olds simple, but I hope it doesn’t come across as too condescending.

This is my favourite currency in Central because of its bright colours and depictions of animals. The 10,000 note has a sloth (fitting for such a graceful creature) while the 5,000 has a monkey. Therefore, one sloth equals two monkeys. One sloth is also the same as five sharks or ten deer, whichever your preference.

But if you think having a 10,000 colones note makes everyone in Costa Rica filthy rich, it’s just an illusion. A can of Coke would cost you about a grand in colones, so think of currencies like the old Italian lira. The current exchange rate to the US dollar is currently a bit over 500, which makes a sloth worth a little under US$20. A bargain.

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