General information: General information. Costa Rica is the brightest success story in Central America: since the end of the 19th century. only twice have periods of violence overshadowed its democratic development. Still largely an agricultural country, it has achieved a fairly high standard of living. Lots of land owners. The tourism industry is developing rapidly. See areacodesexplorer.com to know more about Costa Rica History.
Location: Central America, Caribbean coast and Pacific coast between Nicaragua and Panama.
Geographical coordinates: 10° 00′ N. latitude, 84° 00′ W e.
Reference map: Central America and the Caribbean.
Area: total: 51,100 square kilometers; land surface area: 50,660 km2; water surface area: 440 km2; note: including Cocos Island.
Comparative area: somewhat smaller than West Virginia.
Land borders: total: 639 km; with neighboring states: with Nicaragua 309 km, with Panama 330 km.
Coastline: 1,290 km.
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical and subtropical; dry season from December to April; rainy season from May to November; cooler on the plateau.
Terrain: Coastal plains separated by steep mountains.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m; highest point: Mount Chirripo Grande 3,810 m.
Natural resources: hydropower.
Land use: arable land: 6%; cultivated land: 5%; pastures: 46%; forests and plantations: 31%; others: 12% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 1,200 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural Hazards: there are earthquakes, hurricanes on the Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of the lowlands during the rainy seasons; volcanic activity.
Current environmental issues: deforestation, largely as a result of land clearing for cattle breeding and farming; soil erosion; pollution of rivers and coastal waters; swamping of lands; protection of fish resources; solid waste management; air pollution.
International agreements on environmental protection: member: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Change, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Pollution, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling; signed but not ratified: Kyoto Protocol, Conservation of marine life.
Note to the section “Geography”:
Population: 3,773,057 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 31.38% (male 605,728; female 578,128); 15 to 64 years: 63.37% (male 1,209,084; female 1,181,754); over 65: 5.25% (male 92,314; female 106,049) (2001 est.);
Population growth: 1.65% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 20.27 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 4.3 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 0.53 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.05 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.02 male/female; over 65: 0.87 male/female; for the general population: 1.02 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 11.18 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 76.02 years; men: 73.49 years; women: 78.68 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 2.47 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.54% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 12,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 750 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Costa Rican; adjective: Costa Rican.
Ethnic groups: white (including mestizo) 94%, black 3%, Indians 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1%.
Faithful: Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical Protestant 13.7%, Other Protestant 0.7%, Other 1%.
Language(s): Spanish (official), English spoken around Port Limon.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 94.8%; men: 94.7%; women: 95% (1995 est.).
conventional long form: Republic of Costa Rica;
conventional short form: Costa Rica; local long form: Republics de Costa Rica local short form: Costa Rica
State structure: democratic republic.
Capital: San Jose.
Administrative division: 7 provinces: Alajuela, Guanacaste, Cartago, Lemon, Puntarenas, San José, Heredia.
Independence: from September 15, 1821 (until 1821 – a colony of Spain).
National holiday: Independence Day, September 15 (1821).
Constitution: November 7, 1949
Legal system: based on the Spanish civil law system; consideration of legislative acts in the Supreme Court is possible; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: 18 years; universal and mandatory.
chief of state: President Miguel Angel RODRIGUEZ (since 8 May 1998); First Vice President Astrid FISCHEL Volio (since May 8, 1998), Second Vice President Elizabeth ODIO Benito (since May 8, 1998); note – the president is the head of state and head of government;
head of the government: President Miguel Angel RODRIGUEZ (since May 8, 1998); First Vice President Astrid FISHEL Volio (since May 8, 1998), Second Vice President Elizabeth ODIO Benito (since May 8, 1998); note – the president is the head of state and head of government;
Government: the cabinet is formed by the president; elections: president and vice-presidents are elected on one list by universal suffrage for 4 years; elections last held 1 February 1998 (next to be held 2 February 2002); election results: Miguel Angel RODRIGUEZ elected president; percentage of votes won: Miguel Angel RODRIGUEZ (PUSC) 46.6%, Jose Miguel CORRALES (PLN) 44.6%.
Legislature: unicameral Legislative Assembly (57 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote for 4 years); elections: elections last held 1 February 1998 (next to be held 2 February 2002); election results: distribution of votes between parties: PUSC 41%, PLN 35%, small parties 24%; distribution of seats among parties: PUSC 27, PLN 23, small parties 7.
Judiciary: Supreme Court, 22 judges are elected for 8 years by the Legislative Assembly.
Political parties and leaders: Agricultural Labor Action (PALA) (Carlos Alberto SOLIS Blanco); Costa Rica Renewal Party (PRC) (Justo OROZCO); Party of Democratic Forces (PFD) (Jose NUNEZ [Jose NUNEZ]); Party “Movement of Fighters for the Freedom of the Individual” (PML) (Otto GUEVARA); National Christian Alliance Party (ANC) (Alejandro MADRIGAL Benavides); National Independent Party (PNI) (Jorge GONZALEZ Marten); National Integration Party (PIN) (Walter MUNOZ Cespedes); National Liberation Party (PLN) (Sonia PICA-DO); Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) (Luis Manuel CHACON); note: in practice there is a system of two parties, PUSC and PLN;
Political pressure groups and their leaders: Genuine Confederation of Democratic Workers (CATD) (linked to the Communist Party); Chamber of Coffee Producers; Confederate Workers’ Union (CUT) (affiliated with the Communist Party); Confederation of Democratic Workers of Costa Rica (CCTD) (affiliated with the National Liberation Party); Federation of Government Workers (FTSP); Costa Rica Free Movement (MCRL) (militant right-wing group); National Association for Economic Development (ANFE); National Association of Educators (ANDE).
Participation in international organizations: BCIE, CACM, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
US Diplomatic Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador Jaime DAREMBLUM Rosenstein; office: 2114 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone: [Ts (202) 234-2945; fax: [C (202) 265-4795; consulates general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Francisco, St. Paul, Tampa; Consulate: Austin.
US Diplomatic Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Thomas J DODD; embassy: CaNe 120 Avenida O, Pavas, San Jose; mailing address: ARO AA 34020; phone:  220-3939; fax:  220-2305.
Description of the flag: five horizontal stripes of blue (top), white, red (double width), white and blue with the coat of arms in a white disc located on the left side of the red stripe.