Explore Costa Rica in North America

Costa Rica
Country Guide

Map of the area of  in

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 the some of the languages spoken by the majority in Costa Rica. It is charing 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.

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Landscape, climate and basic 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.

Learn more on our Costa Rican Facts page.

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.

Learn more on our Costa Rican Facts page.

Based on the content from wikitravel.org. The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by geonames.org, CIA world facts book Edition 2010 and 2013, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia and others.