General Facts About Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country in Central America that is bordered by Panama to the southeast, Nicaragua to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the East.

The land area of Costa Rica is 51,100 km2 (19,653 sq. mi).

The population in 2016 was estimated at 4.9 million people (about 40 % live in rural areas and 60 % live in urban areas, with great concentration in the metropolitan area of San Jose, the Capital).

The official language is Spanish, but the indigenous languages are recognized by law. The predominant religion is Roman Catholic.

During his fourth voyage in 1502, Christopher Columbus arrived in Costa Rica that was populated by groups such as Bribri, Cabecar, Guaymies, Guatusos or Malekus, Borucas or Bruncas, Terrabas, Huetares, Chorotegas, Miskitos, Sumos, and Teribes. In this way began the process of Spanish colonization which finished in 1821.

Currently, Costa Rica is a democratic, free and independent republic. There are three branches of government: the Executive Branch, Legislative Branch and Judicial Branch. There is also the Supreme Electoral Tribunal that is considered a fourth Branch. All powers are independent of each other. Its army was abolished in 1949.

The culture is colored by the Spanish, African and indigenous influences, whose syncretism manifests itself in art, music, food and customs. The main foreign populations are now from Nicaragua, Colombia and the United States.

Costa Rica stands out in the region as a country with high investment in the education system. This makes it a country with qualified workers, compared to the other countries of the region. Education is free by law until the end of high school (students between 17 and 18 years old) and higher public education system is mainly supported by state resources.

Regarding the economy, the main activity is ecotourism. Costa Rica has extensive preserved areas and significant diversity in flora and fauna. Volcanoes, access to the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, national parks (forest and marine reserves) and others are some of most visited sites.

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