Capital: San Jose, Estimated Population of Central Valley Area: 1,275,000
Population: 4,289,437 (July 2010 est.)
Conventional Name: Republic of Costa Rica
Local Name: Republica de Costa Rica
Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama
Chief of State: President Laura Chinchilla
Predominant Religion: Roman Catholic (77%), Evangelical; Methodist; Baptist; Episcopalian; Jewish & Bahai Faith
Languages Spoken: Spanish, Creole, Indiginous & English
Ethnic Mix: The majority of the population, 98%, is white or racially mixed, except in Limon province (Caribbean coast), where an estimated 72,000 blacks and 5,500 Indigenous people live. The Northern Guanacaste province also has a notable Indigenous population as well.
Currency: Colon (CC). . .In May, 2012, approximately 500 colones = $1.00US.
Geography & Climate: Costa Rica is the second smallest country in Central America after El Salvador. It is located between Nicaragua and Panama, and has coastlines on the Caribbean and the Pacific. A low, thin line of hills between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean continues into northern Costa Rica, broadening and rising into high and rugged mountains in the center and in the south. The capital city, San Jose, lies in a central basin set within these highlands. Both coasts have lowland areas. The sparsely inhabited east coast has a narrow swamp strip and tropical forests as the terrain slopes inland. The Pacific coast has three peninsulas: the mountainous Nicoya Peninsula in the north, the Goldland Peninsula Papagayo and the lowland Osa Peninsula in the south. A rich lowland savanna with deciduous forests stretches along the Pacific Coast between the two peninsulas.
Fun Facts about Costa Rica:
1.) Costa Ricans refer to themselves as Ticos (males) or Ticas (females).
2.) The Guanacaste is Costa Rica’s national tree and the clay-colored thrush is the national bird. The national flower is the guaria morada which is an orchid.
3.) Costa Rica has a life expectancy of almost 77 years, one of the highest in the world.
4.) There are 800 miles of coastline in Costa Rica between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.
5.) Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces: San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago, Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Limon.
6.) There are more than 121 volcanic formations in Costa Rica, and seven of them are active. Poas Volcano has the second widest crater in the world (nearly one mile in diameter) and Arenal Volcano is one of the ten most active volcanoes in the world.
7.) Chirripo Mountain is the highest point in Costa Rica at 12,500 feet. The country’s lowest point is 790 feet below sea level in the caves of Barra Honda National Park.
8.) Irazu is the tallest volcano in Costa Rica at 11,259 feet.
9.) Costa Rica hosts more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity even though its landmass only takes up .03% of the planet’s surface.
There are more than:
130 species of freshwater fish
160 species of amphibians
208 species of mammals
220 species of reptiles
850 species of birds
1,000 species of butterflies
1,200 varieties of orchids
9,000 species of plants
34,000 species of insects with more discovered daily
10.) More than 25% of Costa Rica’s land is dedicated to national parks, reserves and wildlife refuges. There are more than 100 different protected areas to visit.