Costa Rica Fact File

Costa Rica

General Facts on Costa Rica

History: Although explored by the Spanish early in the 16th century, initial attempts at colonizing Costa Rica proved unsuccessful due to a combination of factors, including: disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives, and pirate raids. It was not until 1563 that a permanent settlement of Cartago was established in the cooler, fertile central highlands. The area remained a colony for some two and a half centuries.

In 1821, Costa Rica became one of several Central American provinces that jointly declared their independence from Spain. Two years later it joined the United Provinces of Central America, but this federation disintegrated in 1838, at which time Costa Rica proclaimed its sovereignty and independence. Since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred the country’s democratic development.

Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector, Costa Rica has expanded its economy to include strong technology and tourism industries. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread.

Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama.

Area: 19,730 square miles (51,100 square kilometers). Slightly smaller than West Virginia.

Population: 4,695,942 (July 2013 est.)

Capital: San Jose

Government: Democratic republic

Head of State & Government: President Laura Chinchilla Miranda (since 8 May 2010)

Currency: Costa Rican colon

Language: Spanish (official), English

Religion: Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%.

Time Zone: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Emergency numbers: For police, medical, or fire, dial 911 or 112

Electricity:Costa Rica’s electricity is 120 volts, and American-style plugs are the norm.

Climate: Tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands.

See the current weather in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Electricity: 120 volts

National Holidays: Independence Day (Sept. 15)

Life Expectancy at Birth: 77 years

Facts About Costa Rica

Here’s a general market in Grecia, Costa Rica

Economy: Based on tourism, agriculture (bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes, beef, timber), and electronics exports

Exports: $11.66 billion (2013 est.)

Imports: $17.56 billion (2013 est.)

Gross Domestic Product (Purchasing Power Parity): $61.43 billion (2013 est.)

GDP per Capita: $12,900 (2013 est.)

Inflation Rate: 5.6% (2013 est.)


Telephone system: Good domestic telephone service in terms of breadth of coverage; under the terms of CAFTA-DR, the state-run telecommunications monopoly scheduled to be opened to competition from domestic and international firms, has been delayed by the nation’s telecommunications regulator.

International country code: 506

Internet country code: .cr

Source: CIA The World Factbook


Get Your Free Costa Rica Report Now


Learn more about Costa Rica and other countries in our daily postcard e-letter. Simply enter your email address below and we’ll send you a FREE REPORT – Why Are Americans Still Flocking to Costa Rica.

This special guide covers real estate, retirement and more in Costa Rica and is yours free when you sign up for our IL postcards below.

Get Your Free Report Here

No spam pledge. We value your privacy.

Your Chance to Retire Overseas Now

Sign up for our free daily Postcard e-letter and we'll immediately send you a FREE RESEARCH REPORT on the most desirable —and cheapest— retirement havens available to you today.

Each day you'll learn about the best places to retire, travel, buy real estate and enjoy life overseas.

Enter your E-mail Address Below

We Value Your Privacy.