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President Luis Guillermo Solís

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»San José

Official Language

»Costa Rican, Tico

»Unitary presidential constitutional republic

»51,100 km2 (128th)


»$64.873 billion
» Per capita -$13,341

GDP (nominal)
»$52.968 billion
» Per capita -$10,893

»Costa Rican colón (CRC)

Time Zone
»CST (UTC−6)

Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island.

It has a population of around 4.5 million, of whom nearly a quarter live in the metropolitan area of the capital and largest city, San José.

Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous people before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century. It remained a peripheral colony of the empire until independence as part of the short-lived First Mexican Empire, followed by membership in the United Provinces of Central America, from which it formally declared sovereignty in 1847.

Since then, Costa Rica has remained among the most stable, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America. Following a brief but bloody civil war, it permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming the first of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army.

Costa Rica has consistently performed favorably in the Human Development Index (HDI), placing 62nd in the world as of 2012, among the highest of any Latin American nation.

It has also been cited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as having attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, with a better record on human development and inequality than the median of the region.

It’s rapidly developing economy, once heavily dependent on agriculture, has diversified to include sectors such as finance, pharmaceuticals, and ecotourism.

According to the World Bank, Costa Rica’s GDP per capita is US$12,874 PPP (as of 2013); however, this developing country still faces lack of maintenance and new investment in infrastructure, a poverty rate estimated to be 23%, a 7.8% unemployment rate (2012 est.), and a trade deficit of 5.2%.

For the fiscal year 2007, the country showed a government surplus. Economic growth in 2008 diminished to a 3% increase in the face of the global recession (down from 7% and 9% growth in the prior two years).

Costa Rica’s inflation rate was an estimated 4.5% in 2012. On October 16, 2006, a new currency exchange system was introduced, allowing the value of the CRC colón to float between two bands as done previously by Chile.

This policy’s objective was to allow the Central Bank to be able to better tackle inflation and discourage the use of U.S. dollars. However, as of August 2009, the value of the colón against the dollar has decreased to 86% of its late-2006 value (see commonly available forex trading charts). The unit of currency is the colón, and as of April 2014, it trades around 550 to the US $, and about 760 colones to the euro.

Costa Rica banana-farm

The central government offers tax exemptions for those willing to invest in the country. Several global high tech corporations have already started developing in the area and are exporting goods, including Intel, GlaxoSmithKline, and Procter & Gamble. In 2006, Intel’s microprocessor facility alone was responsible for 20% of Costa Rican exports and 4.9% of its GDP.

Costa Rica

Trade with Southeast Asia and Russia boomed during 2004 and 2005, and the country obtained full Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) membership in 2007 after becoming an observer in 2004. The Financial Times Intelligence Unit awarded Costa Rica as “Caribbean and Central American Country of the Future 2011/12” for its success in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) as first in the region in terms of FDI project numbers since 2003

Costa Rica is ranked 53 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of 0.362253

Top 5 Products exported by Costa Rica

  1. Integrated Circuits (44%),
  2. Office Machine Parts (11%),
  3. Medical Instruments(5.8%),
  4. Bananas (5.4%),
  5. Tropical Fruits (4.8%)

Top 5 Export destinations of Costa Rica

  1. United States (39%),
  2. Netherlands (11%),
  3. Mexico (8.9%),
  4. China (5.0%),
  5. Malaysia (2.5%)

Top 5 Products imported by Costa Rica

  1. Refined Petroleum (12%),
  2. Integrated Circuits (9.5%),
  3. Printed Circuit Boards(3.8%),
  4. Cars (3.3%),
  5. Packaged Medicaments (2.1%)

Top 5 Import origins of Costa Rica

  1. United States (51%),
  2. China (7.8%),
  3. Mexico (6.4%),
  4. Japan (3.3%),
  5. Panama(2.9%)

Ecotourism in Costa Rica is one of the key activities of the tourism industry in the country. By the early 1990s, Costa Rica became known as the poster child of ecotourism.

Costa Rica boruca1

The country is among many developing nations that look to ecotourism as a way of cashing in on the growing demand for this popular trend of travel. Ecotourism draws many tourists to visit the extensive national parks and protected areas around the country.


Costa Rica was a pioneer in this type of tourism, and the country is recognized as one of the few with true ecotourism.

While Costa Rica has gained immense popularity for its development of a successful, yet environmentally friendly, ecotourism industry, environmentalists, and economists alike debate whether an economy centered on tourism produces more good than harm.

To See
  • Costa Rica is world famous for having an incredibly high level of biodiversity throughout its tropical forests (this covers what you may hear referred to as rain forests, cloud forests, and dry forests).
  • There are tropical mammals such as monkeys, sloths, tapirs, and wild cats as well as an amazing assortment of insects and other animals. There are many many birds (both migratory and resident) – more on that below.
  • There is such biodiversity in Costa Rica not only because it’s a land bridge between North and South America, but also because the terrain is so varied and there are weather patterns moving in from both the Pacific and Atlantic/Caribbean.
  • There are impressive volcanoes, mountain areas, rivers, lakes, and beaches all throughout the country. There are many beautiful beaches – most of the popular ones are on the Pacific side but the Caribbean has many excellent beaches as well.
  • Bird watching
  • Costa Rica Colibrì Amasilla Saucerrottei.
    One of the most wonderful activities for people who love nature is bird watching.
  • You can enjoy bird watching in many areas of Costa Rica. Due to the great diversity of climates, temperatures and forest types in Costa Rica, there is a wonderful variety of birds, with over 800 species. Some helpful books available on bird watching are Birds of Costa Rica by F. Gary Stiles and Alexander Skutch (Cornell University Press) or An Illustrated Field Guide to Birds of Costa Rica, illustrated by Victor Esquivel Soto.






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