Located in Central America, between Nicaragua and Panama, bathed by the Pacific and Atlantic oceans; with a population of under 5 million people and thousands of colorful species, all of whom feel proud to call this little piece of land “home".

Costa Rica facts

  • Out of a territory of 51.100 Km2 (19,730 sq miles), 25% is National Parks, Wildlife Refuges or Protected Areas.
  • Costa Rica has seven provinces: San José (where the capital city of the same name is), Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago, Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Limón. The last three are on the coast.
  • Because Costa Rica is so close to the equator, day and night are practically the same lengths year round. Sunrise is around 5:30 am, sunset is around 5:30 pm, there is no Daylight Savings Time.
  • Although the local currency is the Colón, US Dollars are taken almost everywhere, as well as Visa and Master Card. Euros, Canadian Dollars, American Express cards and Travelers Checks are not so widely accepted.
  • All visitors must carry a passport valid for 6 months from the date of entry.
  • Costa Rica is one of the countries in Latin America with higher health and sanitary standards. Besides the State-owned hospitals, there are many private hospitals and clinics with excellent standards of service.
  • Costa Ricans call themselves Ticos (for men) and ticas (for women), because of our use of diminutives in our speech.
  • Useful words to know: Soda (a place to buy soft drinks and informal meals), Pulpería (neighborhood store), Ahorita (in a little while), Por Favor (please), Gracias (thank you), Con Mucho Gusto (gladly), Pura Vida (this is a greeting and a farewell, a question and an answer, a state of mind… our most popular phrase!).
  • There is a “dryer” season from December to April, in which the occasional shower can happen. The “rainy” season runs from May to November, with sunny mornings and afternoon showers, followed by cool, breezy evenings. The Caribbean Coast, Monteverde and Arenal have no distinct seasons. In general, rain can happen any day at any time, be prepared, and enjoy it!
  • Different latitude, different attitude. Relax and never lose your sense of adventure!


Geologically speaking we are part of the youngest land in the isthmus, completed only about five million years ago. In the human scale, indigenous populations were relatively scarce in numbers and this was an important factor in our later history. Columbus called at our Caribbean coast in his fourth voyage in 1492, but the country was not colonized until much later in the 16th century.

The introduction of coffee as a cash crop helped drive our economy in the 19th and 20th centuries and introduced an extensive land owning class that prized education; today we have a diversified economy that includes high technology and tourism among its mainstays. The death penalty was abolished in 1877, and a set of social reforms from the 1940’s peaking with the abolition of the army in 1949 has led to a country with long traditions of democratic governance. We boast a highly educated population with medal winners in International Math and Chemistry tournaments, as well as a female world boxing champion and outstanding athletes in surf, soccer, cycling, adventure sports, among others.

Important dates

We take our holidays seriously, so make sure you know in advance about the celebrations around your traveling dates so you can make the most out of them:

  • Jan 01st: New Year
  • Easter Week, scheduled based on the first full moon after the spring´s arrival.
  • April 11th: Juan Santamaría Day, a National Hero who stood out during Battle of Rivas in 1856.
  • May 01st: Labor´s Day
  • July 25th: Annexation of the province of Guanacaste.
  • August 2nd: The festivity of Virgen de los Angeles (our Patron Saint, there is a huge pilgrimage to Cartago City)
  • August 15th: Mother´s Day
  • September 15th: Independence Day
  • October 12th: Day of Cultures
  • December 25th: Christmas
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