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Costa Rica Country Information

Costa Rica

About Costa Rica

In the early 16th century when Christopher Columbus first explored the region he named it ‘Costa Rica’ which translates to ‘Rich Coast’. This was because he hoped to find precious metals in the area; however, today Costa Rica is still regarded as a ‘rich’ place, but for a different reason: its fauna and flora. National Geographic labelled Costa Rica as “the most biologically intense place on earth” and few visitors would deny this, having witnessed all Costa Rica has to offer, from volcanic chains to almost every type of forest as well as its colourful wildlife. Costa Rica has also been referred to as the greenest country on earth, with proposed plans to be the first carbon neutral country by 2021. In addition the Happy Planet Index, in 2009 placed Costa Rica in first position on the index which is based around sustainable and fulfilling lifestyles. In tourism terms Costa Rica is the most developed of the Central American countries, so is a good option for those with younger children or who want a little luxury in the rainforest. That said, there is still plenty of places to explore off the beaten track and plenty of wild experiences to be had.

Geography

Costa Rica is situated on the Isthmus connecting North and South America has coastlines along both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. To the north Costa Rica is bordered by Nicaragua and to the south by Panama. Costa Rica has a large amount of the most highly regarded fauna and flora in the world. It is home to some of the world’s most endangered bird species and other animals, many of which are endemic. Furthermore almost 10% of the plant species found in Costa Rica are also endemic to the country’s rainforests which cover almost half of the country.

Politics

Costa Rica is a republic with a single legislative body made up of its Legislative Assembly whose members are elected by popular vote. The results of the 2010 elections in Costa Rica saw the country’s first female president take victory, Laura Chinchilla. Interestingly Costa Rica constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949.

Economy

It is considered that Costa Rica has one of the most successful economies in Central America. A reason for the prosperity of Costa Rica’s economy is its agricultural exports which are well known for coffee production, as well as fruit, sugar, beef and a growing number of more advanced technological goods. Tourism also consists of a significant percentage of Costa Rica’s economy.

Language

Costa Rica’s official languages are English and Creole Religion Christianity is the main religion in Costa Rica, although the state does promote religious freedom, its official religion is Roman Catholicism with over 70% of the population Roman Catholic. The rest is made up of Evangelical Protestants, small sectors of other religions such as Buddhist and Jewish and 10% who have no religion.

Costa Rican Weather

Costa Rica experiences very consistent temperatures and it is therefore easy to visit all year round. There are two seasons which are based on rainfall, but these also vary with region. The Dry season, and most popular time for visitors is December to April- especially during Christmas. However in coastal areas the rainfall is a similar level all year round.

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