About Costa Rica

History and People

mapCosta Rica is a small country located in Central America. It borders Panama to the southeast, Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Since obtaining its independence in 1821, Costa Rica has developed into a vibrant nation characterized by rich cultural diversity. The flora and fauna of Costa Rica are equally diverse, making this country a great ecotourism destination.

Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces: Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas and the capital San Jose. The official money is the “colón.” One dollar is worth about five hundred “colones.”

Costa Rica’s population is about 4,516,220 and the demographic density is about 82 people / km2. The official language is Spanish. However, in the zone of Limon people speak English as well as several native dialects. The main religion is Catholicism. However, many people continue to practice the native religions and cults of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s literacy rate is one of the highest in Latin America. About 95 percent of the population can read and write. Elementary and high school attendance is free and obligatory in Costa Rica.

Mountains, Oceans and Rivers

The Costa Rican territory is dotted by numerous mountains and volcanoes. The tallest peak is the Chirripó Grande, at 3,819 meters, and the largest volcano is the Irazú, at 3,432 meters high.

The Atlantic coast of Costa Rica is 212 km long. On the other side, the Pacific coastline is 1,466 km long. Both coastlines feature numerous beautiful beaches and secluded places for ecotourism. In addition to the oceans, Costa Rica features a number of large rivers, many of which are used to produce electricity.


Costa Rica is a tropical country with two seasons. The summer is the dry season, and it starts in December and ends in April. The winter is the rainy season, and it starts in May and ends in November. Costa Rica is generally a warm and somewhat humid place. In the coastal regions, the temperature typically remains around 28 degrees Celsius (about 82 degrees Fahrenheit). In the central region, the average temperature range is between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius (55 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). These temperature ranges, as well as the abundant water supply, make Costa Rica abound with lush greenery. About 47 percent of the country is covered by tropical forest.

In order to maintain the diverse wildlife of Costa Rica’s tropical forests, several laws have been adopted protecting various plant and animal species. In addition, about 9.3 percent of the Costa Rican territory is designated as national parks and wildlife preserves. Some of the more notable protected species include more than thousand types of orchids and 225 species of reptiles, mostly snakes. In addition, Costa Rica is home to jaguars, pumas, deer, monkeys, coyotes, armadillos, as well as more than 725 different bird species. Bird watchers come to Costa Rica from all over the world to observe Quetzal, Jilguero and Colibri.

Social Security System

Costa Rica has an extensive social security system supervised by the Caja Costarricense de Suguro Social. Over the years, Costa Rican authorities have made great efforts to bring health care to people living in remote areas of the country. In addition to government-provided healthcare, numerous private providers offer the latest, most advanced medical treatments.

The advances in medical services have raised the average life expectancy of Costa Ricans to 75 years. In addition, Costa Rica enjoys a healthy birth rate that greatly exceeds the mortality rate.


Costa Rica features two major airports. The most important airport is the Juan Santamaria National Airport, located in the Alajuela province about 18 km from San Jose. The other major airport is the Daniel Oduber Quiros Airport, located in Liberia, Guanacaste, about 234 km from San Jose.

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