Capital: San José
Population: 4,586,353 (2012 est.)
Language(s): Spanish, Mekatelyu, Bribri, Patois
Demonym: Costa Rican, Tico
President: Luis Guillermo Solís
Currency: Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
Area: 51,100 km2 (19,653 mi2)
Dialing Code: +506
Electricity Adapter: 120 V, 60 Hz, Plug Types A / B
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, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. It is a popular destination for many global surfers, as its beaches are famous for great surf. It is also one of the foremost leaders in staying green. It has been ranked as “the greenest country in the world,” and plans by the government are in order to make Costa Rica the first carbon-neutral country by a decade from now.
Costa Ricans, colloquially called “Ticos,” pride themselves on their country’s biodiversity; though it is a tiny fraction of the Earth’s landmass, it contains around 5% of the world’s biodiversity. It has a well-established system of national parks and protected areas, covering nearly a quarter of its land area, the largest in the world by percentage.
The country is steeped in culture, from the mixture of the settlers in the region and the numerous indigenous tribes. Spanish is the official language, but there are a number of local languages spoken throughout. The food of Costa Rica is similar in style and preparation to that of its Central American neighbors, but there are some regional variations and local specialties to be had, as well.
Pura Vida is the country’s official slogan, meaning “the pure life” or “full of life,” and locals sometimes say it as a greeting and farewell.