Costa Rica, which means “the rich coast,” has many mountain ranges and numerous volcanoes.
Capital: San José
Area: 51,100 square kilometers or 19,729 square miles, about the size of the states of Vermont and New Hampshire combined.
Location: Central America, between Nicaragua and Panama, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
Administrative Divisions: 7 provinces (Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas, San José) divided into 81 subdivisions (cantones), which are also divided into 421 districts.
Population: 4.48 million (July 2009)
Official Language: Spanish. Creole is also spoken by the Caribbean Blacks. In addition to Spanish and Creole, there are numerous Indian dialects.
Local Currency: Colón (named after Christopher Columbus)
Official Religion: Roman Catholic, but there is freedom of expression of other beliefs.
System of Government: Democratic Republic
Executive Branch: President and two Vice Presidents elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-years terms. The cabinet is selected by the President. The last election was held on February 7, 2010.
Independence: September 15th, 1821 (from Spain)
Climate: Tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands.