Costa Rica (GPS: 10 00 N, 84 00 W) located in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama. The country’s area measurements are total: 51,100 sq km; land: 51,060 sq km, water: 40 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly smaller than West Virginia. The total irrigated land is 1,015 sq km (2012).
One of the essential features of Costa Rica: Four volcanoes, two of them active, rise near the capital of San Jose in the center of the country. One of the volcanoes, Irazu, erupted destructively in 1963-1965.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, San Jose’s GPS coordinates are 9 56 N 84 05 W. San Jose’s local time is 1 hour behind Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC-6.
Google Maps Costa Rica and San Jose, Central America and the Caribbean
About Costa Rica in detail
Flag of Costa Rica
Map of Costa Rica
Although explored by the Spanish early in the 16th century, initial attempts at colonizing Costa Rica proved unsuccessful due to various factors, including disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives, and pirate raids. It was not until 1563 that Cartago’s permanent settlement 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 Spain’s independence. 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 its democratic development. On 1 December 1948, Costa Rica dissolved its armed forces. Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector, Costa Rica has expanded its economy to include robust technology and tourism industries. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread.
Costa Rica’s names conventional long form: the Republic of Costa Rica, traditional short form: Costa Rica, local long way: Republica de Costa Rica, local short state: Costa Rica, etymology: the name means “rich coast” in Spanish and was first applied in the early colonial period of the 16th century. The name means “rich coast” in Spanish and was first used in the early colonial period of the 16th century.
Costa Rica’s terrain is typically coastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major active volcanoes. The country’s mean elevation: 746 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m, highest point: Cerro Chirripo 3,810 m.
The country’s general climate is tropical and subtropical: the dry season (December to April): rainy season (May to November): cooler in highlands.
The total number of border countries is 2, Nicaragua 313 km, Panama 348 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Costa Rica’s coastline is 1,290 km, while its marital claims are: territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles, continental shelf: 200 nautical miles. Waterways: 730 km (seasonally navigable by small craft) (2011). Land use: agricultural land: 37.1%; arable land 4.9%; permanent crops 6.7%; permanent pasture 25.5%; forest: 51.5%; other: 11.4% (2011 estimate).
The population in Costa Rica 4,987,142 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 76.8% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: SAN JOSE (capital) 1.17 million (2015), while Costa Rica has roughly half of the nation’s population resides in urban areas; the capital of San Jose is the largest city and home to approximately one-fifth of the population. Their spoken languages are Spanish (official language), English. Main religions in Costa Rica are Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah’s Witness 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%. The nation uses civil law system based on Spanish civil code; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court. It is a(n) presidential republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 15 September (1821).
Economic overview for the country: Since 2010, Costa Rica has enjoyed strong and stable economic growth – 3.8% in 2017. Exports of bananas, coffee, sugar, and beef are the backbone of its commodity exports. Various industrial and processed agricultural products have broadened exports in recent years, as have high value-added goods, including medical devices. Costa Rica’s impressive biodiversity also makes it a key destination for ecotourism.
Foreign investors remain attracted by the country’s political stability and relatively high education levels and the incentives offered in the free-trade zones; Costa Rica has attracted one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America. The US-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which became useful for Costa Rica in 2009, helped increase foreign direct investment in key sectors of the economy, including insurance and telecommunication. However, poor infrastructure, high energy costs, a complex bureaucracy, weak investor protection, and contract enforcement uncertainty impede more significant investment.
Costa Rica’s economy also faces challenges due to a rising fiscal deficit, rising public debt, and relatively low domestic revenue levels. Poverty has remained around 20-25% for nearly 20 years, and the government’s strong social safety net has eroded due to increased constraints on its expenditures. Costa Rica’s credit rating was downgraded from stable to negative in 2015 and again in 2017, upping pressure on lending rates – which could hurt small business, on the budget deficit – which could hurt infrastructure development, and on the quality of return on investment – which could soften foreign direct investment (FDI). Unlike the rest of Central America, Costa Rica is not highly dependent on remittances – which represented just 1 % of GDP in 2016 but instead relied on FDI – which accounted for 5.1% of GDP.
Natural resources of Costa Rica: hydropower.
Main export partners for Costa Rica, Central America, and the Caribbean are US 33.6%, China 6.2%, Mexico 4.6%, Nicaragua 4.3%, Netherlands 4.2%, Guatemala 4% (2015) for bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar; beef; seafood; electronic components, medical equipment, while the main import partners for the country are: the US 45.3%, China 9.8%, Mexico 7.1% (2015) for raw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum, construction materials.
When you visit this country in Central America and the Caribbean, consider the natural hazards in Costa Rica: Occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along the Atlantic coast, frequent flooding of lowlands at the onset of the rainy season and landslides, active volcanoesvolcanism: Arenal (elevation 1,670 m), which erupted in 2010, is the most active volcano in Costa Rica, a 1968 eruption destroyed the town of Tabacon, Irazu (elevation 3,432 m), situated just east of San Jose, has the potential to spew ash over the capital city as it did between 1963 and 1965, other historically active volcanoes include Miravalles, Poas, Rincon de la Vieja, and Turrialba, while infectious diseases are a degree of risk: intermediate food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea vectorborne infections: dengue fever. Note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses a substantial risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016). Also, note that Costa Rica faces the following environmental issues: Deforestation and land-use change, largely a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching and agriculture, Soil erosion, Coastal marine pollution, Fisheries Protection, Solid waste management, Air pollution.
You may also be interested in the countries next to Costa Rica around its total: 661 km border, like Nicaragua, Panama.