About Our Field

The Country


Official Name: Republic of Costa Rica
Costa Rica, which means “the rich coast,” has many mountain ranges and numerous volcanoes.

Capital: San José

Location: Central America; Nicaragua is to the north and Panama to the south; the Caribbean Sea is to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Size: 51,100 square kilometers (19,729 square miles), about the size of the states of Vermont and New Hampshire combined.

Climate: Tropical and subtropical; a dry season (December to April) and a rainy season (May to November); cooler in the highlands.

The People

Population: 4.48 million (as of July 2009)

Official Language: Spanish. Creole is also spoken by the Caribbean blacks. In addition to Spanish and Creole, there are numerous Indian dialects.

Official Religion: Roman Catholic, but there is freedom of expression for other beliefs.

Life expectancy: 79.3 years

Literacy rate:  96%

The Government

System of Government: Democratic Republic

Executive Branch: A President and two Vice Presidents are elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms. The cabinet is selected by the President.

Administrative Divisions: 7 provinces (Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas, San José) divided into 81 subdivisions (cantones), which are then divided into 421 districts.

Local Currency: Colón (named after Christopher Columbus)

Independence: September 15, 1821 (from Spain)

The majority of this information was taken from the Embassy of Costa Rica’s official web site.