Adventure is just bad planning.
— Roald Amundsen, 1872 - 1928
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Costa Rica

Background

Costa Rica

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.

About

Costa Rica is a country in Central America. In the north it borders Nicaragua and in the southeast Panama. To the west, there is the Pacific Ocean and to the east, the Caribbean Sea.

Read more about Costa Rica in our Costa Rica travel guide »

Featured journals from

Costa Rica

Featured hotels in

Costa Rica

Costa RicaInterContinental Real Costa Rica 

Prospero Fernandez Hwy
Escazu 1000
Costa Rica

Price (US$): $144 - $309 / night

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Location. InterContinental Real Costa Rica is a business friendly Escazu hotel in the business district and close to Multiplaza Mall Escazu, Multiplaza, and Correos de Costa Rica. Additional points of interest include Amusement Park San Jose and Plaza Real Cariari. Hotel Features. Dining options at InterContinental Real Costa Rica include 5 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves full breakfasts in the restaurant… more »

Costa RicaTabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort 

13 km oeste del centro
de la Fortuna de San Carlos
Fortuna
Costa Rica

Price (US$): $500 - $550 / night

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Location. Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort is located in central Fortuna, close to Arenal Volcano National Park. Resort Features. Dining options at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort include 2 restaurants. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The resort serves buffet breakfasts each morning in the restaurant (surcharges apply). Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a fitness facility, and complimentary bicycles. The property's… more »

Costa RicaArenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort 

Playa Playitas Manuel Antonio
Quepos
Manuel Antonio 311-6350
Costa Rica

Price (US$): $550 - $551 / night

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Location. Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort is located on the beach in Manuel Antonio, close to Manuel Antonio National Park. Resort Features. Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available. The resort serves a complimentary breakfast. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool. The property's full service health spa has body treatments, massage/treatment rooms, and… more »

Costa RicaFour Seasons Resort Costa Rica 

Papagayo Peninsula
Papagayo
Costa Rica

Price (US$): $775 - $925 / night

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Location. Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica is located on the beach in Papagayo, close to Hermosa Bay Beach, Panama Beach, and Marina Papagayo. Other points of interest are Coco Beach and Haras del Mar Equestrian Center. Hotel Features. Dining options at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica include 6 restaurants. Recreational amenities include a golf course. Also located on site are an outdoor pool, a children's pool, a health club, and a spa tub. The property's full service health spa has… more »

Costa RicaThe Springs Resort and Spa at Arenal 

Arenal, 9 Km West and
3.5 km North of La Fortuna Centre
Fortuna
Costa Rica

Price (US$): $465 - $695 / night

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Location. Located in Fortuna, The Springs Resort and Spa at Arenal is a family friendly hotel on a river and local attractions include Arenal Volcano National Park. Hotel Features. Dining options at The Springs Resort and Spa at Arenal include 4 restaurants. A swim up bar, a poolside bar, and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts (surcharges apply). Recreational amenities include a children's pool, a… more »

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Costa Rica

Full name
Republic of Costa Rica
Capital
San José
Location

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

Geographic coordinates

10 00 N, 84 00 W

Area comparative

slightly smaller than West Virginia

Border countries

Nicaragua 309 km, Panama 330 km

Coastline

1,290 km

Climate

tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands

Terrain

coastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major volcanoes

Lowest point

Pacific Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Cerro Chirripo 3,810 m

Natural resources

hydropower

Population

4,516,220 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

white (including mestizo) 94%, black 3%, Amerindian 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1%

Religions

Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%

Languages

Spanish (official), English

Government type

democratic republic

Independence

15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Chief of state

President Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda (since 8 May 2010); First Vice President Alfio PIVA Mesen (since 8 May 2010); Second Vice President Luis LIBERMAN Ginsburg (since 8 May 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

Head of government

President Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda (since 8 May 2010); First Vice President Alfio PIVA Mesen (since 8 May 2010); Second Vice President Luis LIBERMAN Ginsburg (since 8 May 2010)

Internet country code

.cr

Internet users

1.485 million (2009)

Airports

151 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Caldera, Puerto Limon

Other countries in the region