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Costa Rica Map

Costa Rica is only two and a half hours from Miami. There are also daily scheduled flights from most major US airports.  European airlines also service Costa Rica with direct flights from several European cities.

South and Central American carriers offer daily service between San Jose and all Central American capital cities. Lacsa, the Costa Rican carrier is part of Groupo Taca, the major airline servicing the Central American area.

With a round trip ticket, for continuing travel, and a valid passport; citizens of the United States of America, Canada, Germany, Spain and Italy can visit Costa Rica for a stay upto 90 days. No visa from a consular office is required. Citizens of other countries should check in their own country for visa requirements.

Visitors wishing to extend their visit beyond the 90 day limit should contact an Immigration Officer upon arrival. Costa Rica Tourist Cards can be purchased from airlines that serve Costa Rica

Splendid Nature!

Amazing numbers define Costa Rica's ecology: somewhere between 500,000 and a million total species of flora and fauna; hundreds of thousands, perhaps even a million species of insects; 2,000 species of orchids; 208 species of mammals; 850 species of birds; endless thousands of species of moths and butterflies. In a space that occupies less than three ten-thousands of the earth's surface are 5 percent of all of the plant and animal species on the planet.

Some developed for tourism while others are remote and rarely visited. Costa Rica's charm is embodied in its forests, its unpredictable volcanoes, its endless shores and its underwater marvels. If you haven't walked at least one of its jungle trails, you can't claim to have visited Costa Rica, for therein lies the essence of the country, its inner meaning, its vibrant skien of life woven between its enchanting shorelines to cover its craggy mountain chains. You can't reach out and hold it but there's something there, so that, once you've felt it, you'll never really leave Costa Rica behind, no matter where your body goes.

Costa Rica has something for everyone. From hiking in rainforests and mountains, relaxing on beaches, to snorkeling through tropical reefs and surfing some of the best waves in Central America, Costa Rica is a natural wonderland. With both a Pacific and Caribbean coast, there are plenty of beaches in Costa Rica.

Full country name

Republic of Costa Rica

Costa Rica Map


51,100 sq km (19,929 sq mi)


4,195,914  (July 2008 est. - growth rate 1.7%)

Capital city

San José (pop 333,000)


96% Spanish descent, 2% African descent, 1% indigenous Indians, 1% Chinese


Spanish, Creole English and Indian dialects


85% Roman Catholic, 14% Protestant




Carlos Alvarado Quesada (2018-2022)


US$26 billion

GDP per head




Annual growth


Major industries

Coffee, bananas, sugar, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products, tourism

Major trading partners

USA, Germany, Italy, Japan, Guatemala, Mexico

Time Zone

GMT - 7


110 / 220 Volts 60 Hz. 2 pin lugs are standard.

Radio Frequencies

  • BBC: 17.84 15.26 95.90 5.975
  • VOA: 15.12 11.91 9.590 6.130

Country Code



International direct dialing is available

Outgoing Code


Emergency Numbers

  • Police - 104
  • Fire - 103
  • Ambulance - 2225-1436 and 2228-2187


Colon - 1 US$ =  604,23 Colones [26 November, 2018].

For the latest Exchange  Rate please go to Banco Central de Costa Rica's web site at

All major credit cards are accepted. VISA is more widely accepted. Travelers cheques in US dollars are accepted.

ATM availability

Over 150 locations. Available in Samara.

Money Wiring Services

Available in major towns.

Western Union


Credit card Emergency Numbers

  • Amex +44 1273 696933
  • Diners Club 2257-1766
  • VISA +1 (410) 581-9091

Travelers Cheques

Thomas Cook: 1 800 223 7373

Local Tourist Information

Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT); Apartado 777; Edificio Genaro Valverde; Calles 5 y 7; Avenida 4a 1000 San José; Costa Rica  - Tel 2223 1733 or Fax: 2223 5452.

Passport Information

Passport with a minimum validity of 6 months from date of arrival; except Canadian and US citizens with proof of identity for visits not exceeding 90 days. Return Ticket Required. Requirements may change at short notice. Contact the embassy before departure.

VISA Information

Not normally required. Check with the embassy and consulate for the latest information.

Prohibited Items

Narcotics and firearms.

Airport Departure Tax

US$ 26 or local equivalent payable if staying in Costa Rica for longer than 48 hours by everyone.

Public Holidays 2018

  • January 1 New Year's Day
  • March 19 Feast of Saint Joseph (San Jose only, not banks)
  • April 11 Anniversary of the Battle of Rivas (not banks)
  • April 17-20 Holy Thursday, Easter Sunday
  • May 1 Labour Day
  • June 7 Corpus Cristi
  • June 29 St Peter and St Paul
  • July 25 Anniversary of the Annexation of Guanacaste Province
  • August 2 Feast of Patroness of Costa Rica
  • August 15 Assumption/Mothers' Day
  • September 15 Independence Day
  • October 12 Columbus Day / Dia de la Raza
  • December 8 Immaculate Conception (not banks)
  • December 24 Christmas Eve (not banks)
  • December 25 Christmas Day
  • December 28- 31 Christmas Holiday

Costa Rica has...

  • Over 800 species of birds, more than all of North America
  • Some 1200 species of orchids
  • Over 8000 species of higher plants
  • 10% of all the butterflies in the world and more than the entire continent of Africa
  • More quetzals that any other country in the world
  • Over 150 species of edible fruits

Map of Costa Rica

click here for a large map

Click here for a detailed Costa Rica Map



Costa Rica is a Central American success story: since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred its democratic development. Although still a largely agricultural country, it has achieved a relatively high standard of living. Land ownership is widespread. Tourism is a rapidly expanding industry.



Middle America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama

Geographic coordinates:

10 00 N, 84 00 W

Map references:

Central America and the Caribbean


total:  51,100 sq km
land:  50,660 sq km
water:  440 sq km
note:  includes Isla del Coco

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than West Virginia

Land boundaries:

total:  639 km
border countries:  Nicaragua 309 km, Panama 330 km


1,290 km

Maritime claims:

exclusive economic zone:  200 NM
territorial sea:  12 NM


tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands


coastal plains separated by rugged mountains

Elevation extremes:

lowest point:  Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point:  Cerro Chirripo 3,810 m

Natural resources:


Land use:

arable land:  6%
permanent crops:  5%
permanent pastures:  46%
forests and woodland:  31%
other:  12% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land:

1,200 sq km (2003 est.)

Natural hazards:

Occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season and landslides; active volcanoes

Environment - current issues:

Deforestation and land use change, largely a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching and agriculture; soil erosion; water pollution (rivers); coastal marine pollution; wetlands degradation; fisheries protection; solid waste management; air pollution

Environment - international agreements:

party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified:  Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation



4,195,914  (July 2008 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years:  31.38% (male 605,728; female 578,128)
15-64 years:  63.37% (male 1,209,084; female 1,181,754)
65 years and over:  5.25% (male 92,314; female 106,049) (2001 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.65% (2001 est.)

Birth rate:

20.27 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)

Death rate:

4.3 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)

Net migration rate:

0.53 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth:  1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years:  1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years:  1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over:  0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2001 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

11.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population:  76.02 years
male:  73.49 years
female:  78.68 years (2001 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.47 children born/woman (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.54% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

12,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

750 (1999 est.)


noun:  Costa Rican(s)
adjective:  Costa Rican

Ethnic groups:

white (including mestizo) 94%, black 3%, Amerindian 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1%


Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, other Protestant 0.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%


Spanish (official), English spoken around Puerto Limon


definition:  age 15 and over can read and write
total population:  94.8%
male:  94.7%
female:  95% (1995 est.)


Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Costa Rica
conventional short form:  Costa Rica
local long form:  Republica de Costa Rica
local short form:  Costa Rica

Government type:

democratic republic


San Jose

Administrative divisions:

7 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, San Jose


15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 15 September (1821)


7 November 1949

Legal system:

Based on Spanish civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Legislative branch:

unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (57 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections:  last held 1 February 2006 (next to be held February 2010)

election results:  percent of vote by party - PUSC 41%, PLN 35%, minority parties 24%; seats by party - PUSC 27, PLN 23, minority parties 7

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (22 justices are elected for eight-year terms by the Legislative Assembly)

Political parties:
  • Agricultural Labor Action or PALA
  • Costa Rican Renovation Party or PRC
  • Democratic Force Party or PFD
  • Libertarian Movement Party or PML
  • National Christian Alliance Party or ANC
  • National Independent Party or PNI
  • National Integration Party or PIN
  • National Liberation Party or PLN
  • Social Christian Unity Party or PUSC

note:  mainly a two-party system - PUSC and PLN; numerous small parties share less than 25% of population's support

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Authentic Confederation of Democratic Workers or CATD (Communist Party affiliate); Chamber of Coffee Growers; Confederated Union of Workers or CUT (Communist Party affiliate); Costa Rican Confederation of Democratic Workers or CCTD (Liberation Party affiliate); Federation of Public Service Workers or FTSP; National Association for Economic Development or ANFE; National Association of Educators or ANDE; Rerum Novarum or CTRN (PLN affiliate) [Gilbert Brown]

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission:  Ambassador Jaime DAREMBLUM Rosenstein

chancery:  2114 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone:  [1] (202) 234-2945

FAX:  [1] (202) 265-4795

Consulate(s) General: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Francisco, St. Paul, and Tampa

Consulate(s): Austin

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission:  Ambassador Thomas J. DODD

Embassy:  Calle 120 Avenida O, Pavas, San Jose

mailing address:  APO AA 34020

telephone:  [506] 2220-3939

fax:  [506] 2220-2305

Flag description:

Five horizontal bands of blue (top), white, red (double width, white, and blue, with the coat of arms in a white disk on the hoist side of the red band


Economy - overview:

Costa Rica's basically stable economy depends on tourism, agriculture, and electronics exports. Poverty has been substantially reduced over the past 15 years, and a strong social safety net has been put into place. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and high education levels, and tourism continues to bring in foreign exchange. However, traditional export sectors have not kept pace. Low coffee prices and an overabundance of bananas have hurt the agricultural sector. The government continues to grapple with its large deficit and massive internal debt and with the need to modernize the state-owned electricity and telecommunications sector.


purchasing power parity - $25 billion (2000 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3% (2000 est.)

GDP - per capita:

purchasing power parity - $6,700 (2000 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture:  12.5%

industry:  30.7%

services:  56.8% (1999)

Population below poverty line:

20.6% (1999 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%:  1.3%

highest 10%:  34.7% (1996)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

11% (2000 est.)

Labour force:

1.9 million (1999)

Labour force - by occupation:

agriculture 20%, industry 22%, services 58% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate:

5.2% (2000 est.)


revenues:  $1.95 billion

expenditures:  $2.4 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)


Microprocessors, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products

Industrial production growth rate:

4.3% (2000)

Electricity - production:

5.805 billion kWh (1999)

Electricity - production by source:

fossil fuel:  2.41%

hydro:  83.32%

nuclear:  0%

other:  14.27% (1999)

Electricity - consumption:

5.303 billion kWh (1999)

Electricity - exports:

165 million kWh (1999)

Electricity - imports:

69 million kWh (1999)

Agriculture - products:

coffee, pineapples, bananas, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes; beef; timber


$6.1 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

Exports - commodities:

coffee, bananas, sugar; pineapples; textiles, electronic components, medical equipment

Exports - partners:

US 54.1%, EU 21.3%, Central America 8.6% (1999)


$5.9 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

Imports - commodities:

raw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum

Imports - partners:

US 56.4%, EU 9%, Mexico 5.4%, Japan 4.7%, (1999)

Debt - external:

$4.2 billion (2000 est.)


Costa Rican colon (CRC)

Currency code:


Exchange rates:

Aug, 2015 ~ approx. 528 Colones for US$1.

Fiscal year:

calendar year


Telephones - main lines in use:

450,000 (1998)

note:  584,000 installed in 1997, but only about 450,000 were in use 1998

Telephones - mobile cellular:

143,000 (2000)

Telephone system:

general assessment:  very good domestic telephone service

domestic:  point-to-point and point-to-multi-point microwave, fibre-optic, and coaxial cable link rural areas; Internet service is available

international:  connected to Central American Microwave System; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); two submarine cables (1999)

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 50, FM 43, shortwave 19 (1998)


980,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:

6 (plus 11 repeaters) (1997)


525,000 (1997)

Internet country code:


Internet Service Providers (ISPs):

3 (of which only one is legal) (2000)

Internet users:

1,214,400 (2007)



total:  950 km

narrow gauge:  950 km 1.067-m gauge (260 km electrified) (2000)


total:  37,273 km

paved:  7,827 km

unpaved:  29,446 km (1998 est.)


730 km (seasonally navigable)


petroleum products 176 km

Ports and harbours:

Caldera, Golfito, Moin, Puerto Limon, Puerto Quepos, Puntarenas

Merchant marine:

total:  1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,716 GRT/NA DWT

ships by type:  passenger 1 (2000 est.)


152 (2000 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:

total:  29

2,438 to 3,047 m:  2

1,524 to 2,437 m:  1

914 to 1,523 m:  19

under 914 m:  7 (2000 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total:  123

914 to 1,523 m:  28

under 914 m:  95 (2000 est.)


Military branches:

Coast Guard, Air Section, Ministry of Public Security Force (Fuerza Publica)

note:  Costa Rica has no military, only domestic police forces, including the Coast Guard and Air Section

Military manpower - military age:

18 years of age

Military manpower - availability:

males age 15-49:  1,035,090 (2001 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:

males age 15-49:  692,973 (2001 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:

males:  39,411 (2001 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:

$69 million (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

1.6% (FY99)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:

Legal dispute over navigational rights of Rio San Juan on border with Nicaragua

Illicit drugs:

Transhipment country for cocaine and heroin from South America; illicit production of cannabis on small, scattered plots; domestic cocaine consumption is rising, particularly crack cocaine; those who previously only trafficked are now becoming users.


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