Discover Costa Rica in North America

Costa Rica with its capital San José is located in North America (Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean). It covers some 51,101 square kilometres (slightly smaller than West Virginia) with 4,191,000 citizens. Spanish and English are some of the languages spoken by the majority in Costa Rica. Did you know that it is sharing borders with Panama and Nicaragua.

Costa Rica is a country in Central America. It is one of the world's most popular destinations for eco-tourists because of its biodiversity, having bewilderingly diverse landscapes, flora, and fauna. From rain forests, to dry tropical and temperate forests, to volcanoes, to Caribbean and Pacific beaches, to high mountains, and marshy lowlands. You have to exercise caution when renting a car in Costa Rica; where it is not uncommon for rental companies to claim damage they insist you inflicted on the vehicle. Try to rent a car through a Costa Rican travel agent. If you are traveling on a package, your agent will sort this out. Spanish is the main language in Costa Rica. All major newspapers and official business are conducted in Spanish. English is used widely in areas populated by international tourists. Costa Rica is one of the countries with more rivers per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world. Anywhere you go you will find some kind of float trip to enjoy nature from a very unique point of view. Most places have potable water, so don't worry about drinking tap water. Bottled water is also available at low prices. The national drink is called guaro, which is made from fermented sugar cane. It is similar to vodka, and is usually drunk with water and lemon. Costa Rica has one of the highest levels of social care in the world. Its doctors are known worldwide as some of the best. International calls are fairly expensive. The cheapest way to make them is over the internet using a service such as Skype at an Internet café.

Pictures from the Costa Rican capital

Have a look at our dedicated photo collection to get a view of what San José is like. We have selected more pictures from San José on our dedicated gallery page.

Awesome photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners.

Landscape, climate, hints for travelling

National Tourism Office

Website: Costa Rica Tourism

The terrain offers coastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major volcanoes. The average density of population is about 82 per km². The climate in Costa Rica can be described as tropical and subtropical with dry season (December to April), rainy season (May to November), cooler in highlands. Possible natural disasters include occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast or frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season and landslides or active volcanoes.

To reach someone in Costa Rica dial +506 prior to a number. There are 1,493,000 installed telephones. And there are 1,950,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 1800 Mhz. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".cr". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 120V - 60Hz.

Description of the flag of Costa Rica

Five horizontal bands of blue (top), white, red (double width), white, and blue, with the coat of arms in a white elliptical disk toward the hoist side of the red band; Costa Rica retained the earlier blue-white-blue flag of Central America until 1848 when, in response to revolutionary activity in Europe, it was decided to incorporate the French colors into the national flag and a central red stripe was added; today the blue color is said to stand for the sky, opportunity, and perseverance, white denotes peace, happiness, and wisdom, while red represents the blood shed for freedom, as well as the generosity and vibrancy of the people
note: somewhat resembles the flag of North Korea; similar to the flag of Thailand but with the blue and red colors reversed.

National administrative regions of Costa Rica

Historical background information

Although explored by the Spanish early in the 16th century, initial attempts at colonizing Costa Rica proved unsuccessful due to a combination of factors, including disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives, and pirate raids. It was not until 1563 that a permanent settlement of Cartago was established in the cooler, fertile central highlands. The area remained a colony for some two and a half centuries. In 1821, Costa Rica became one of several Central American provinces that jointly declared their independence from Spain. Two years later it joined the United Provinces of Central America, but this federation disintegrated in 1838, at which time Costa Rica proclaimed its sovereignty and independence. Since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred the country's democratic development. In 1949, Costa Rica dissolved its armed forces. Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector, Costa Rica has expanded its economy to include strong technology and tourism industries. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread.

Demographic Information

Costa Rica has 85 persons having reached the age of 100 years. Girls make up for 71 of this count (which is 84%). 363,701 young citizens below the age of five (and make up for 8% of the total population). 16.7 babies are born per thousand citizens.

Costa Rican Age Distribution

Blue bars represent male citizens. Red bars represent female citizens. A pair or bars represents a single age group spanning five years each. Data has been released 2011.

Gender Distribution (Full Population)

Total share of male (blue) and female (red) citizens of the total population of Costa Rica

Growth of Population (per thousands)

Babies born per thousand citizens (blue) and deaths (red) over the past ten years.

Geography And Economy Facts

Geographic Fact Data
Summary Continent: North America
Neighbours: Panama, Nicaragua
Capital: San José
Size 51,100 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 19,730 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than West Virginia
Population 4,191,000

Economy Facts

Technology and Economy Data
Currency Name: Colon, Currency Code: CRC
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .cr
Telephone Country Prefix +506
Mobile Phone Connections 1,950,000
Landline Phone Connections 1,493,000
Military Spendings 0.6% (of GDP, Gross Domestic Product)

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Type of Data Value World Rank
Area 51,100 (sq km) 130

People and Society

Type of Data Value World Rank
Population 4,695,942 121
Population growth rate 1.27 (%) 92
Birth rate 16.25 (births/1,000 population) 123
Death rate 4.44 (deaths/1,000 population) 201
Net migration rate 0.85 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 60
Maternal mortality rate 40.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 115
Infant mortality rate 8.95 (deaths/1,000 live births) 152
Life expectancy at birth 78.06 (years) 58
Total fertility rate 1.91 (children born/woman) 139
Health expenditures 10.90 (% of GDP) 22
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.30 (%) 87
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 9,800 98
HIV/AIDS - deaths 500 95
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 23.70 (%) 73
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 1.10 (%) 130
Education expenditures 6.30 (% of GDP) 32
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 16.6 (%) 79


Type of Data Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 59,790,000,000 90
GDP - real growth rate 5.00 (%) 66
GDP - per capita (PPP) 12,800 102
Labor force 2,196,000 119
Unemployment rate 7.90 (%) 89
Distribution of family income - Gini index 50 21
Investment (gross fixed) 19.90 (% of GDP) 98
Taxes and other revenues 15.4 (% of GDP) 188
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -4.40 (% of GDP) 147
Public debt 47.40 (% of GDP) 72
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 4.50 (%) 124
Central bank discount rate 23.00 (%) 5
Commercial bank prime lending rate 16.15 (%) 32
Stock of narrow money 4,209,000,000 106
Stock of broad money 20,090,000,000 86
Stock of domestic credit 23,330,000,000 77
Market value of publicly traded shares 1,445,000,000 101
Industrial production growth rate 2.80 (%) 99
Current account balance -2,556,000,000 145
Exports 11,470,000,000 89
Imports 16,790,000,000 83
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 5,461,000,000 87
Debt - external 14,470,000,000 88
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 18,590,000,000 70
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 729,300,000 78


Type of Data Value World Rank
Electricity - production 9,470,000,000 (kWh) 96
Electricity - consumption 8,530,000,000 (kWh) 93
Electricity - exports 38,000,000 (kWh) 80
Electricity - imports 62,000,000 (kWh) 100
Electricity - installed generating capacity 2490000 (kW) 95
Electricity - from fossil fuels 24.8 (% of total installed capacity) 186
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 61.5 (% of total installed capacity) 29
Electricity - from other renewable sources 13.7 (% of total installed capacity) 13
Crude oil - imports 7,361 (bbl/day) 80
Refined petroleum products - production 12,090 (bbl/day) 104
Refined petroleum products - consumption 50,200 (bbl/day) 100
Refined petroleum products - exports 737 (bbl/day) 114
Refined petroleum products - imports 39,200 (bbl/day) 77
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 6,411,000 (Mt) 118


Type of Data Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 1,234,000 68
Telephones - mobile cellular 4,358,000 114
Internet hosts 147,258 78
Internet users 1,485,000 82


Type of Data Value World Rank
Airports 153 35
Railways 278 (km) 122
Roadways 38,049 (km) 92
Waterways 730 (km) 75
Merchant marine 1 149


Type of Data Value World Rank
Military expenditures 0.80 (% of GDP) 145

Based on the content from The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by, CIA world facts book Edition 2010, 2013 and 2014, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases as well as other sources.