WELCOME TO COSTA RICA Costa Ricans have many reasons to be proud of this small Central American country (only 51,100 square kilometers). Even though Costa Rica’s territory represents only 0.03% of the world’s landmass, this little piece of earth is home to 4% of the flora and fauna on the planet. For this reason, Costa Rica is noted for being one of the countries with the richest biodiversity in the world. Twenty-five percent of Costa Rican territory is under protection as national parks, biological reserves, private reserves and national wildlife refuges. Home to over four million Costa Ricans (who call themselves ticos and ticas), this country chose over fifty years ago to abolish its army. Despite the poverty that holds many neighboring countries in its grasp, Costa Rica has built an oasis of relative peace and growth opportunities. For example, 96 percent of the population can read and write, and the nationalized health care system has managed to keep infant mortality at very low levels. For these reasons, Costa Ricans feel pride. Whether they speak Spanish, Bribri, or Mekatelyu, whether
they travel by horse or by car, ticos know that they have two invaluable treasures: the natural beauty of their country and their sociopolitical system, which is the envy of many other countries.
Geography Costa Rica is connected to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, which give the country its diverse ecosystems. The country is cut in half by a volcanic mountain range system that runs from the northeast to the southeast of the territory. Volcanic mountain ranges are separated by deep valleys and other mountains. The Talamanca mountain range, which crosses over the southern region of the country, penetrates deep into the northern part of Panama; this is where the tallest peak in the country is located.
Borders Costa Rica lies between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. It has a narrow Pacific coastal region. Cocos Island (10 sq mi; 26 sq km), about 300 mi (483 km) off the Pacific Coast, is under Costa Rican sovereignty.
Location Middle America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama
Area total: 51,100 sq. km/19,575 sq mi Water: 440 square kilometers.
Cerro Chirripó: 3,810 m