Costa Rica: Quick Facts

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Everything you need to know about Costa Rica.


Costa Rica in numbers:

  • Population: 4,576,562
  • Area: 19,730 square miles
  • Highest Elevation: 12,533 feet at Chirripo Mountain
  • Average Daily Temperatures:  71°F to 85°F
  • Average Yearly Rainfall: 100 Inches


Location: Costa Rica is located 10° north of the equator in Central America and is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. 


Climate: No matter what time of year you visit, the weather in Costa Rica can’t be beat. There are two major seasons in Costa Rica – the rainy and the dry. Rainy or “green” season runs from May until early December and is characterized by sunny mornings followed by showers in the afternoons. Dry season, also known as “high” season due to the high numbers of tourists that visit, lasts from mid-December until April. During these months, rain is scarce. The only exception to these seasonal patterns takes place on the Caribbean Coast, where the rainy and dry seasons are opposite to the rest of the country.


Geography: From mountains to waterfalls, Costa Rica boasts a diverse geographic range. Volcanoes, lakes, rivers, salt water estuaries, beaches, rain forests and grasslands all help to make up the natural beauty of this unique country. Costa Rica features 5 main mountain ranges with over 50 distinct volcanoes. Today, five volcanoes are active:  Arenal, Irazu, Poas, Rincon de la Vieja and Turrialba. Like States in the U.S., Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces:  Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas and San Jose.


Language: The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish. But, in most tourist destinations, signs are translated to English and many people speak both Spanish and English.


Time Zone: From March to October, Costa Rica’s time zone is equivalent to Mountain Standard Time. But because there is no daylight savings time in Costa Rica, the rest of the year, the time zone is the same as Central Standard Time.


Currency: Costa Rica’s national currency is the colon (CRC), but U.S. dollars are accepted almost everywhere. Although colones have amounts in the thousands, it’s simple to convert colones to dollars by simply multiplying by two – i.e., 2,000 CRC (also written CRC) = $4 or $10.000 CRC = $20. 


What is a “Tico?” A ‘Tico‘ is the word Costa Ricans use to describe themselves. The term comes from the cultural custom of many Costa Ricans to  add “ico” or “ito” onto every word, which means “little.” For example, the word ‘perro’ means dog, but ‘perrito’ means little dog. Because Costa Ricans tend to speak this way more than in other Spanish-speaking countries, eventually the word stuck and is now commonly used to refer to someone from Costa Rica. A ‘tico’ is a Costa Rican man and ‘tica’ is a Costa Rican woman. A group of Costa Ricans would be a group of ‘ticos.’


Flora & Fauna: Even though its landmass takes up only .03% of the earth’s surface, Costa Rica is home to more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity including more than 9,000 species of plants, 34,000 species of insects and at least 850 species of birds.


Peaceful Relations: Costa Rica has been without an army for over 60 years.



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