Fast Facts

San José; 1,085,000
51,100 square kilometers (19,730 square miles)
Spanish, English
Roman Catholic, Evangelical
Costa Rican colon
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $8,300
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Costa Rica
Map: Costa Rica

Located in Central America, Costa Rica has coastlines on the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. The tropical coastal plains rise to mountains, active volcanoes, and a temperate central plateau where most people live (San José, the capital, is here). The only country in Central America with no standing army, it enjoys continuing stability after a century of almost uninterrupted democratic government. Tourism, which has overtaken bananas as Costa Rica's leading foreign exchange earner, bolsters the economy. A quarter of the land has protected status; the beauty of rain forest preserves draws more and more visitors.


  • Industry: Microprocessors, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials
  • Agriculture: Coffee, pineapples, bananas, sugar; beef; timber
  • Exports: Coffee, bananas, sugar, pineapples, textiles

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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