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Volcano Arenal, Costa Rica. Author Brian (bdearth). Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution
Volcano Arenal, Costa Rica. Author Brian (bdearth)

Costa Rica: natural parks, volcanoes and forests

Costa Rica (República de Costa Rica) is a presidential republic located in Central America, the country is washed in the west and south-west from the Pacific Ocean, and to the north-east from the Caribbean Sea, it’s bordered to the north by Nicaragua and to the south-east by Panama.

The coastline extends for more than 1,200 km, of which more than 1,000 km on the Pacific Ocean side and more than 200 km on the Caribbean Sea. The coast of the Pacific Ocean is characterized by many headlands and peninsulas, gulfs, bays and white san beaches, while the coast of the Caribbean Sea is low and straight. It is part of Costa Rica also Isla del Coco (24 sq km), which is located 500 km from Puntarenas in the Pacific Ocean.

The country is largely mountainous, three mountain chains crossing it from north to south, the Cordillera of Guanacaste, the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera of Talamanca, between the last two is the Meseta Central, a fertile plateau 1,000 metres high on average, where are the major population centres of the country.

Costa Rica Map

Costa Rica Map

The Cordillera of Guanacaste and the Cordillera Central have mainly massive volcanic peaks including Arenal (1,670 m), Tenorio (1,920 m) and the Miravalles (2,028 m) in the Cordillera of Guanacaste, the Poás (2,704 m), Turrialba (3,329 m) and Irazú (3,432 m) in the Cordillera Central.

The highest peaks of Costa Rica are found in the southern Cordillera of Talamanca where lies the Terbi (3,761 m), and the highest mountain in the country, Chirripó Grande (3,820 m). The main river in the country is the San Juan, which marks the border with Nicaragua and flows in the Caribbean Sea.

Agriculture is the most important economic sector of Costa Rica, bananas and coffee are the main crops, followed by cotton, tobacco, cocoa, rubber and sugar cane, timber and breeding of cattle are also important. Costa Rica is the most industrialized country in Central America, it is mainly small businesses related to the processing of agricultural products. Increasingly important is tourism, especially eco-tourism in the many national parks of the country.

  • Area: 51,100 kmq. (Arable 10,4%, Pastures 45,8%, Forests and Woodlands 30,7%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 13,1%)
  • Population: 4,133,000 (2007 data) (European 87%, Mestizos (descendants of European and Amerindian) 7%, African e Mulattos (descendants of European and African) 3%, Asian 2%, Amerindian 1%).
  • State Capital: San José.
  • Language: Official language is Spanish.
  • Religion: Roman Catholic90%; Protestant 8%.
  • Currency: Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
  • Time: UTC -6 hours.

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