During the era of the Spanish colonial rule, and for more than 50 years afterward, Nicaragua used Spanish coins that were struck for use in the “New World”. The first unique coins for Nicaragua were issued in 1878 in the peso denomination. The córdoba became Nicaragua’s currency in 1912 and was initially equal in value to the U.S. dollar. The Córdoba was named after Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, the national founder. The front of each of Nicaragua’s circulating coins features the national coat of arms.

The five volcanoes represent the five Central American countries at the time of Nicaragua’s independence; the rainbow at the top symbolizes peace; and the cap in the center is a symbol of freedom. The design is contained within a triangle to indicate equality. The back of each coin features the denomination, with the inscription En Dios Confiamos (In God We Trust).

Nicaragua is the first country in the Americas to successfully overhaul production of its paper currency in favor of polymer banknotes.

Polymer banknotes were issued in 2009 to reduce the need to reprint banknotes, combat counterfeiting and introduce a more hygienic currency. The previously issued banknotes are still accepted as legal tender. However, unlike previous banknote series, the current series does not have any illustration of politicians. Rather, the current currency series celebrates the country’s landmarks, history and culture.