About Costa Rica

Costa Rica, meaning "rich coast" in Spanish, is one of the best kept paradises in the world. It has earned accolades in environmental conservatism, and human development. Home to the most protected national parks and territories in the world, 25% of territorial areas in Costa Rica are preserved by SINAC (the system for national conservation). It also contains the highest density of species in the world. Costa Rica ranked 5th in the World on the Environmental Performance Index and 1st in the Americas. In 2012, the country ranked 1st on the Happy Planet Index.

The culture is moved by music and dance, a constant fusion of rhythm and lyrics reminiscent of the way Spanish, African, Caribbean and Mesoamerican influences are blending together to create "Pura Vida": moving away from its literal translation, the phrase is taken to mean "full of life" and "real living." Costa Rica has be determined to have extremely high human development relative to all the other countries in their income bracket.

The people are welcoming and friendly; the scenery is breathtaking and untouched; the experience is waiting for you.

Fast Facts

Economy

  • Currency: Colone (507 CRC :1 USD) (660 CRC : 1 Euro)
  • Industry: Pharmaceuticals, Financial Outsourcing, Software Development, Ecotourism
  • Agriculture: Bananas, Pineapples, Coffee

Religion

  • Official Religion: Roman Catholicism
  • Predominant Religion: Christianity

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (Jan 1)
  • Good Thursday and Good Friday
  • Juan Santamaría's day (Apr 11)
  • Labor Day (May 1)
  • Anexión de Nicoya's day (Jul 25)
  • Mother's Day (Aug 15)
  • Independence Day (Sept 15)
  • Christmas Day (Dec 25)
*** Note many offices are also closed between Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Language

  • Official Language: Costa Rica Spanish
  • Main Indigenous Languages: Bribri, Maléku, Cabécar, Ngäbere
  • English Speakers: 10.7 % of Adult population

Culture

  • Cuisine: fusion of Native American, Spanish, African, Caribbean
  • National dishes: gallo pinto, fried plantains, arroz con pollo, olla de carne, tamales, casado, burbudas
  • Dances: Soca, Salsa, Bachata, Meringue, Cumbia, Costa Rican Swing
  • Instruments: Guitar, Marimba
  • Music: Punto Guanacasteco, Sancarleño, Tambito

Provinces

  • Alajuera
  • Carago
  • Guanacaste
  • Heredia
  • Limón
  • Puntarenas
  • San José

Geography

  • Surrounding Countries: Nigaragua (North), Panama (Southeast)
  • Surrounding Water Bodies: Pacific Ocean (West), Caribbean Sea (East)
  • Longitude and Latitude: 82-86oW; 8-12oN
  • Highest Point: Cerro Chirripó (3,819m / 12,530ft)
  • Highest Volcano: Irazú Volcano (3,431m / 11,257ft)
  • Largest Lake: Lake Arenal
  • Islands: 33

Climate

  • Tropical, year round
  • Seasons: 2, Dry (Late Dec - Early April), Wet (August - Early Dec). Otherwise Intermittent rains.

Flora and Fauna

  • Boasts 5% of the world's biodiversity
  • Native species: Whiteheaded Capuchin, Mantled Howler, Geoffrey's Spider Monkey, Central American Squirrel Monkey

Health

  • Specialty National Hospitals: 5
  • General National Hospitals: 3
  • Regional Hospitals: 7
  • Peripheral Hospitals: 13
  • Major Clinics: 10

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