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General Information about Costa Rica in Central America


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General Information

Knowing Costa Rica

The fact that more than one million tourists visit Costa Rica each year does not happen by chance. Our country, located in Central America, is an isthmus where life seems to have created its roots. Covering only 0.03% of the surface of our planet, Costa Rica has approximately 6% of the world's biodiversity. Furthermore, Costa Rica is characterized by its impressive scenic beauty, consolidated system of protected areas, social and political stability, high educational levels, and its efficient infrastructure and services. All of this is offered in a territory of only 51 thousand square kilometers, surrounded by both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, at a distance from each other of only three to four hours by land or 45 minutes by air.

The country's strategic position, in the heart of the western hemisphere, the Government's positive attitude towards new business transactions, the infrastructure, the access to international markets, and the quality and cost of its labor, make Costa Rica an ideal place to establish commercial operations.

Heritage and Culture

Costa Rican culture is in many ways a reflection of its racial mix. The predominant influence has long been European, which is reflected in everything from the official language -- Spanish -- to the architecture of the country's churches and other historic buildings. The indigenous influence is less apparent, but can be found in everything from the tortillas that are served with a typical Costa Rican meal to the handmade ceramics sold at roadside stands. A more recent cultural influence is that of the United States, which can be noted in everything from the movie selection at San Jose's theaters to the fast food chains that line some of the capital's streets.

An important aspect of Costa Rica's cultural heritage is their love of peace and democracy. Ticos like to point out that their nation is the exception in Latin America, where military dictatorships long dominated politics. They can boast of having more than one hundred years of democratic tradition, and almost half a century without an army. The army was abolished in 1948, and the money the country saves by not having a military is invested in improving the standard of living for Costa Ricans, which has fostered the social harmony that makes it such a pleasant country to visit.

Climate and Geography

Summer brings an increase in temperatures from the plains to the highlands of Costa Rica, which has many microclimates due to the heterogeneity of it's land and it's diverse characteristics.

Here are some averages (balance between high and low temperatures) for the temperatures in centergrees and fahrenheid during summertime:

  Pacific Coast Central Valley Caribbean Coast
January 26/80 17/63 23/74
February 27/81 17/63 23/74
March 27/81 18/64 24/75
April 28/82 18/65 24/76
May 27/81 18/65 25/77

The people

Ticos, as Costa Ricans are commonly known, are a fairly mixed bunch. Though the majority of the country's 3.3 million inhabitants are the descendents of Spanish immigrants, many families originated from other parts of Europe, Asia, Africa and, of course, Central America. You may be surprised by the number of fair-skinned people you'll see in the country, especially in the Central Valley. In the lowlands, more people are mestizo -- that is mixture of European and Indigenous blood -- whereas the majority along the Caribbean coast are of African lineage, and much of the Talamanca Mountain Range is inhabited by full-blooded Indians of various ethnicities.

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Costa Rica

The National Flag of Costa Rica

Region: Central America and the Caribbean

Population: 3,710,558 (July 2000 est. Estimate)

Area Total: 51,100 km2

Area Land: 50,660 km2

Coast Line: 1,290 km

Capital: San Jose'

Climate: Tropical
Dry season
(December to April)
Rainy season
(May to November)

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