Located in Central America, Costa Rica is nearly 20,000 square miles in size, with a population of more than 4.5 million people. Officially known as the Republic of Costa Rica, this unique country is bordered by Nicaragua, Panama, the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
While Spanish is the official language, many people in the country are also fluent in English. San Jose is the capital and biggest city, with nearly one out of four residents living in or around San Jose.
Facts About Costa Rica
Whether you are planning a trip for vacation or business, are considering a destination to retire overseas, or you are simply interested in learning more about this beautiful country, follow along for 12 fun facts about Costa Rica.
- The average life expectancy is about 79 years (compared to 76 years in the U.S.).
- The country is widely recognized for having many different species of birds. Estimates suggest that the country has around 850 bird species. About two-thirds of the birds are non-migratory and the rest are traveling through en route to South America.
- Costa Rica is recognized as being environmentally progressive. It has met all the criteria required to measure environmental sustainability and is ranked 5th worldwide by the Environmental Performance Index.
- There are six active volcanoes on Costa Rica and more than 60 dormant volcanoes. The Poás Volcano in the Poás Volcano National Park is one of the most active volcanoes in the country. Irazu is the highest volcano in the country, at over 11,200 feet. The last significant volcanic eruption was more than 100 years ago in 1910.
- Italian explorer Christopher Columbus traveled along the country’s east coast in 1502 during one of his voyages to the Americas.
- Soccer (also known as “futbol”) is by far the most popular sport.
- Coffee and bananas are two major international exports for the country. Coffee production has a rich history in the country, starting during the 19th century.
- Out of 19 countries, Costa Rica is ranked the safest country in Latin America by Latinvex. This is favorable for tourists visiting the region, and for businesses including nearshore companies with offices in Costa Rica.
- The country has seven different provinces: San José, Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago, Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Limon. The national capital and biggest city is San José, located in the San José province.
- Costa Rica is home to one of the most famous cloud forests (also called a fog forest) in the world. A cloud forest is a tropical or subtropical forest that is consistently covered by a low-level cloud. The country’s Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is the biggest cloud forest in Central America.
- National parks, wild life and nature reserves make up around one quarter of the land.
- The rainy season begins in May and goes into November. During this time, rain showers are common during the afternoon.