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Poás volcano, Central Valley region of Costa Rica
Panoramic view of the crater of the Poás volcano, an active 2,708-metre (8,885 ft) stratovolcano in the Central Valley region of Costa Rica.
Image: Scott Robinson
Costa Rica Flag
Flag of Costa Rica
Location map of Costa Rica. Where in Central America is Costa Rica?
Location map of Costa Rica
Destination Costa Rica, a virtual guide to the republic in Central America, situated on the Isthmus of Panama. The country has coastlines on both, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It is bordered by Nicaragua in north and Panama in south east.

The country covers an area of 51,100 km², this is about the size of Slovakia or slightly smaller than the U.S. state of West Virginia.

Costa Rica has a population of 4.8 million people (in 2015), capital city is San José. Official language is Spanish.

Republic of Costa Rica | República de Costa Rica

Country Profile

The former southern-most province in the Spanish territory of New Spain is a Central American country of largely European rather than mestizo descent.

Since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred its democratic development. Although still a largely agricultural country, it has achieved a relatively high standard of living. Land ownership is widespread and tourism is a rapidly expanding industry.

Official Name:
República de Costa Rica
short form: Costa Rica
int'l long form: Republic of Costa Rica
int'l short form: Costa Rica

ISO Country Code: cr, CRI

Local Time = UTC -6h
Actual Time: Fri-Sept-22  20:49

Country Calling Code: +506

Capital City: San José (pop. 354 600, greater metropolitan area 2.1 million)

Other Cities:
Puntarenas (pop. 103 000), Limon (pop. 90 000)

Type: Democratic Republic
Independence: 15 September (1821 from Spain)
Constitution: 7 November 1949

Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea in the north-east and the North Pacific Ocean in the south-west, between Nicaragua and Panama.
Area: 51,100 km² (19,729 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Coastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major volcanoes.

Climate: Tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands.

Nationality: Costa Rican(s).
Population: 4.8 million (2015)
Ethnic Groups: European and some mestizo 94%, African origin 3%, Chinese 1%, indigenous 1%, other 1%.
Religions: Roman Catholic 69%, Protestant approx. 18%, none 12%, others 1%.
Languages: Spanish, with a southwestern Caribbean Creole dialect of English spoken around the Limon area.
Literacy: 96%

Natural resources: Hydroelectric power, forest products, fisheries products.
Agriculture products: Coffee, pineapples, bananas, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes; beef; timber.
Industries: Microprocessors, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products.

Exports partners: USA 33.6%, China 6.2%, Mexico 4.6%, Nicaragua 4.3%, Netherlands 4.2%, Guatemala 4% (2015)

Imports partners: USA 45.3%, China 9.8%, Mexico 7.1% (2015)

Currency: Costa Rican Colon (CRC)

Political System
Costa Rica is generally regarded as having the most stable and most democratic government in all of Central America. The country is a presidential democratic republic. The president is elected directly by the people every four years, he can not be re-elected after a legislative period. In 1949, under President José Ferrer, the country abolished the army, and used the money set aside in the development of education and health care.

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Official Sites of Costa Rica

Republica de Costa Rica
Costa Rica Goverment portal (in Spanish).

Casa Presidencial Costa Rica
The presidency of Costa Rica (in Spanish).

Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto
Ministry of External Relations and Culture. (in Spanish)

Diplomatic Missions
Misión Permanente de Costa Rica ante las Naciones Unidas
Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations. (in Spanish)
Embassy of Costa Rica
Embassy of Costa Rica in the USA.
Embassies of Costa Rica around the World
Address list of Embassies of Costa Rica Abroad.
Foreign Diplomatic Missions in Costa Rica
Address list of Foreign Diplomatic Missions in Costa Rica.

Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos
The National Institute of Statistics and Census.

Instituto Meteorológico Nacional de Costa Rica
The National Meteorological Institute of Costa Rica.


 Map of Costa Rica
Detailed Map of Costa Rica.
Google Earth Google Earth Costa Rica
Searchable map and satellite view of Costa Rica.
Google Earth Google Earth San José
Searchable map and satellite view of Costa Rica's capital city.

Map of Central America and the Caribbean
Reference Map of Central America and the Caribbean. 

Volcan Arenal, La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Volcan Arenal, La Fortuna, Costa Rica.
Image: Arturo Sotillo 

Costa Rica News

La Nación Digital
Costa Rica Newspaper.

La Prensa Libre
Costa Rica News.

La Republica
National and international news. (Spanish)

The Tico Times
English-language weekly.

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Arts & Culture

Museo de Arte Costarricense
Costa Rica's main institution for the conservation, exhibition and promotion of plastic arts.

Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo - MADC
Museum of Contemporary Art and Design.

Museo del Oro Precolombino
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum in San José, one of the museums of Costa Rica's Central Bank.

Museo Histórico Cultural Juan Santamaría
Historical Culture Museum in Alajuela.

Museo Nacional de Costa Rica
The National Museum of Costa Rica.

Archaeological Adventure
Image: Museo Nacional de Costa Rica

Business & Economy

The economy of Costa Rica is based on tourism, agriculture and the export of electronic equipment and services. The country significantly reduced poverty during the 1950s and 1980s thanks to strong efforts by the state to strengthen the domestic market, and the development of social investments in education, electricity, telecommunications and the provision of health care services.

Banco Central de Costa Rica
The Central Bank of Costa Rica.

Bolsa Nacional de Valores S.A.
Costa Rica's Stock Exchange.

CADEXCO - Costa Rican Chamber of Exporters

Nature Air
Costa Rica's Domestic Airline.

Costa Rica Bus Tickets
Bus ticket and shuttle service.
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
Playa Hermosa, a popular beach and a beach-front resort town located in Guanacaste province.
Image: Thomas Anderson

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Destination Costa Rica - Country Guides

Mount Chirripó, the highest mountain in Costa Rica within the Cordillera Talamanca,
Nature Reserves: Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge, Chirripó National Park, Corcovado National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Talamancan montane forests ecoregion, Tirimbina Rainforest Reserve,
Volcanos: Arenal, Irazú, Poás, Turrialba,
Beaches: Guanacaste, Sand Dollar Cove, Playa San Josecito, Hermosa Beach.
Whitewater Rafting: Tenorio River, Pacuare River.

Essential Costa Rica
The official site of the Costa Rica Tourist Board.

Bienvenidos a Costa Rica
Costa Rica visitors guide. (in Spanish)
Costa Rica Guide
Very helpful guide for visitors of Costa Rica.
COCORI Complete Costa Rica
Articles, photos, maps and general information about visiting, doing business, investing and living in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica!
A Costa Rican portal with general information on Costa Rica. (in German)
Costa Rica
An immigrant guide to Costa Rica. (in German)
Another Costa Rican visitors guide by Delfina Travel Group.
Visit Centroamérica
General information by the Tourism Promotion Agency of Central America (CATA).

pre-columbian stone spheres from the Diquís Delta
The pre-columbian stone spheres from the Diquís Delta.
Image: Anita Gould

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Costa Rica
World Heritage Site Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park
La Amistad National Park, a protected area with tropical rainforests and a unique fauna and flora, is shared and managed by Costa Rica and Panama.

World Heritage Site Cocos Island National Park
Cocos Island National Park is located about 540 km south west off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, it is the only island in the tropical eastern Pacific with a tropical rainforest.

World Heritage Site Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements with Stone Spheres of the Diquís
The four archaeological sites located in the Diquís Delta in southern Costa Rica contain artificial mounds, paved areas, burial sites and, most significantly, a collection of stone spheres. The pre-columbian artefacts from Diquis's Valley are symbols of the national identity for Costa Rican people.


Empresarial University of Costa Rica
Private institution of higher learning.
Universidad de Costa Rica
The University of Costa Rica is a public university with its main campus, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, in San Pedro Montes de Oca, province of San José.
Universidad Latina de Costa Rica
Latin University of Costa Rica (ULatina) is the largest private university in Costa Rica.
Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica
Costa Rica National Univerity has its main campus in the city of Heredia. (in Spanish)

Environment & Nature

Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad
National Biodiversity Institute, a private research and biodiversity management center.

Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR)
A non-profit organization in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica dedicated to educating people about the connection between nature and humankind.

Parques nacionales
The National Parks of Costa Rica. (in Spanish)

Poás Volcano, Costa Rica
Poás Volcano, Costa Rica
Photo: © Instituto Costarricense de Turismo


History of the Republic of Costa Rica
Very brief information on Costa Rica's rich history.
History of Costa Rica
Costa Rica's History from Pre-Columbian times to Post-Independence.
History of Costa Rica
Wikipedia entry about the History of Costa Rica (many languages)


LANIC Costa Rica
Latin American Network Information Center on Costa Rica.

Sources and additional Information on Costa Rica

Amnesty International: Costa Rica

BBC - Costa Rica country profile

FAO: Costa Rica

GlobalEDGE: Costa Rica

The Heritage Foundation: Costa Rica

Human Rights Watch: Costa Rica

OEC: Costa Rica

Reporters Without Borders: Costa Rica

Background Notes: Costa Rica

Wikipedia: Costa Rica

The World Factbook -- Costa Rica
 Support UNICEF

Other Countries of Middle and Central America:
Belize | El Salvador | Guatemala | Honduras | Mexico | Nicaragua | Panama

Major Cities in Middle and Central America:
Belmopan, Guatemala City, Managua, Mexico City, Panama City, San José, San Salvador, Tegucigalpa

Countries of South America:
Argentina | Bolivia | Brazil | Chile | Colombia | Ecuador | French Guiana
| Guyana | Paraguay | Peru | Uruguay | Suriname | Venezuela