Costa Rica is a stable Central American democracy known for its progressive environmental policies and for not having a military. The Costa Rican military was abolished in 1948, and not having a military became a part of the Costa Rican Constitution the following year.
The country has a tropical climate dominated by two seasons: a dry season that runs from December to April, and a wet season from May to November. The average temperature is largely determined by elevation; the lowland regions are much warmer than the mountainous ones.
The Costa Rican economy used to be heavily dominated by agriculture, including coffee production but has since then diversified to include sectors such as tourism, pharmaceuticals, finance, and corporate services for foreign companies.
Where is Costa Rica?
Costa Rica is located in the southern part of Central America, bordering Panama in the south and Nicaragua in the north. Costa Rica´s longest coast is the one to the Pacific Ocean; the one along the Caribbean Sea is a bit shorter.
What´s the capital of Costa Rica?
San José is Costa Rica´s capital and most populous city. Of the country´s estimated 5 million people, roughly 2 million reside within the San José metropolitan area. The city´s municipal area is only home to around 330,000 people (data from 2015). Examples of notable cantons that are located outside the city but within the continuous metropolitan area are Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago.
San José is located in the mid-west of Costa Rica´s Central Valley, at an altitude of 1,172 m and surrounded by higher mountain peaks. The altitude gives the city a mild climate that is often described as “eternal spring” rather than the strong tropical heat that dominates the lowland areas of the country.
San José was founded in 1736 and is named after Saint Joseph (Joseph of Nazareth).
Data from 2011 show that over 83% of the Costa Rican population identified as White/Castizo or Mestizo. (No distinction was made between these two groups.) The major minority groups were Mulatto (6.7%), Amerindian (2.4%) and Black or African descent (1.1%). Over 6% of the population did not identify as belonging to any of these groups.
- Costa Rica borders Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, Panama to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
- Costa Rica is home to 14 volcanoes, of which eight have not been active in the last 75 years.
- The “spine” of Costa Rica is formed by the mountain ranges Cordillera Central and Cordillera de Talamanca. This spine separates the Pacific drainage region from the Caribbean one.
- The highest point in Costa Rica is Cerro Chirripó, which stands 3,819 meters above sea level. Both Cerro Chirripó and the second-highest peak, Cerro Kamuk, are a part of Cordillera de Talamanca.
- The largest lake is Lago Arenal, which was tripled in size with the construction of the Arenal hydroelectric dam in 1979. The old towns Arenal and Tronadora are now at the bottom of the dam. A new town, also called Arenal, was constructed on higher ground as a replacement.
- The country´s largest island is Isla Calero, located in north-eastern Costa Rica.
- The most remote of the Costa Rican island is Cocos Island, located in the Pacific Ocean, roughly 550 km south-west of the Costa Rica mainland. This is the southernmost point on the North American continent if outer islands are included. Cocos Island has been a National Park since 1978.
Short info about Costa Rica
Full name: República de Costa Rica (Republic of Costa Rica)
Anthem: Noble patria, tu hermosa bandera (Noble fatherland, your beautiful flag)
Area: 51,100 square kilometres
Independence from Spain: 1821
Demonym: Costa Rican (formal), Tico / Tica (informal)
Official language: Spanish
Recognized regional languages: Mekatelyu, Bribri, Patois
Government: Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Population: Nearly 5 million (2018 estimate)
Capital: San José (coordinates: 9°56′N 84°5′W)
Religion: 52% Catholic Christian, 22% Protestant Christian, 17% Irreligion, 3% Others, 3% Unknown (data from the year 2017)
Currency: Costa Rican colón (CRC)
Time zone: UTC−6 (CST)
Driving side: right
Calling code: +506
ISO 3166 code: CR
Internet TLD: .cr and .co.cr