Costa Rica is a country in Central America, which falls within the North American continent. Its capital is San José.
Ticos, as the people of Costa Rica are called, use the phrase pura vida (“pure life”) in their everyday speech, as a greeting or to show appreciation for something. If you’ve ever visited you will have heard it many times!
Monteverde Cloud Forest in the north of the country.
Of all the countries in this region, it is generally regarded as having one of the most stable and most democratic governments.
Its constitution of 1949 provides for a fair judicial system, and an independent electoral body. Moreover, the constitution abolished the country’s army, gave women the right to vote, and provided other social, economic, and educational guarantees for all of its citizens.
Throughout the 1970s and ’80s the country managed to stay relatively peaceful compared with its war-torn neighbours. It has one of the highest literacy rates (more than nine-tenths) in the Western Hemisphere and a solid educational system from the primary grades through the university level.
Several renowned universities and an active network of bookstores and publishing houses tend to make San José the nucleus of intellectual life in Central America. Because of the country’s peaceful reputation and its commitment to human rights, several nongovernmental organisations and pro-democracy foundations have their headquarters in San José.
The country is also known for its strong commitment to the environment and for protecting its numerous national parks. These factors, along with an established ecotourism industry, have attracted foreign investment, which shifted the country’s once agriculture-based economy to one dominated by services and technology by the late 20th century.
Valle Central or Meseta Central, is devoted to the cultivation of coffee, one of the country’s most important exports. In the region’s outlying reaches, bananas—the principal export—are grown. Pineapples have become a significant export, surpassing coffee as the number two export by the late 20th century.
Costa Rica is bounded by Nicaragua to the north, by the Caribbean Sea along the 185-mile (300-km) north east coastline, by Panama to the southeast, and by the Pacific Ocean along the 630-mile (1,015-km) south west coastline.
At the country’s narrowest point, the distance between the Pacific and the Caribbean is only about 75 miles (120 km).