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Costa Rica Info


Even though Costa Rica is a small country, it has immense biological diversity and varied habitats due to its geographical position – it is a land where two hemispheres and two oceans meet and the terrain quite diverse.  This makes for an array of stunning views for travelers. There is a chain of mountains that forms a backbone running the length of Costa Rica.  It begins in the north with the Guanacaste "Cordillera" (mountain range), and continues with the Tilarán Cordillera (where Monteverde and Arenal are located), and the Central Cordillera (Irazú, Poás, Braulio Carrillo), before ending at the southern Talamanca Cordillera (which is the highest in the country)

 

People

  •    Population: 4.1 million
  •    People: 96% Spanish descent, 2% African descent,
  •    1%   indigenous, 1% Chinese
  •    Language: Spanish, English
  •    Religion: 75% Roman Catholic, 14% Protestant

 

Economy

  • Government: democratic republic

     

  • Head of State: President Laura Chinchilla

  • GDP: US$32 billion GDP per capita: US$8,300

  • Annual Growth: 1% (5.6% in 2004)

  • Inflation: 9.1%

  • Major Industries: Tourism, electronics, coffee, bananas, sugar, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products

  • Major Trading Partners: USA, Germany, Italy, Japan, Guatemala, Mexico

  • Currency & Exchange Rate:

    The Colon (¢1.00) is the national currency of Costa Rica.

    The exchange rate with the US dollar can vary from day to day, but as of March 21th, 2006, it was  ¢504 colones per dollar.

    Most international credit cards, such as Visa  /  Master Card / American Express / Diners Club are accepted throughout the country. Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s) are easily found in the most populated areas of Costa Rica.

     

  • Credit Cards:

  • Visa Requirements:

Visitors from the following countries are allowed to stay for 90 days without a visa:

Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, United States and all European countries except Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czech Republics, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Visitors from these countries are allowed to stay for 30 days without a visa: Australia, Belize, China, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, The Philippines and Venezuela.

 

 

Why Costa Rica?

  • Even though Costa Ricais a small country, it has immense biological diversity and varied habitats due to its geographical position – it is a land where two hemispheres and two oceans meet and the terrain quite diverse.  This makes for an array of stunning views for travelers. There is a chain of mountains that forms a backbone running the length of Costa Rica.  It begins in the north with the Guanacaste "Cordillera" (mountain range), and continues with the Tilarán Cordillera (where Monteverde and Arenal are located), and the Central Cordillera (Irazú, Poás, Braulio Carrillo), before ending at the southern Talamanca Cordillera (which is the highest in the country)
 
 
 
  • While the Pacific coastline is almost 780 miles (1,254 km) long, the Caribbean coast only stretches 132 miles (212 km).  Two hilly peninsulas (the Osa Peninsulaand the Nicoya Peninsula) can be found on the Pacific coast.  There are two large gulfs, and many small coves and bays.  Two major commercial ports are located on the Pacific: Puntarenas and Puerto Caldera. On the Caribbean, there is a natural harbor in Moín, located in the area of Limón.  It is the largest area of lowland plains (about one-fifth of the area of Costa Rica), which runs from the northern coastline almost all the way to Limón.
  • Costa Rica lies in the tropics, between 8 and 11 degrees north of the equator.  You can expect moderate temperatures but the rugged mountain chains’ effect on factors such as wind and rain create many microclimates.  Most people are surprised to learn that frost and ice can settle on some of the loftier peaks, such as Chirripó.  Temperatures are somewhat higher on the Pacific side than on the Caribbeanat the same elevation because clouds are more frequent.  At sea level on either side, the annual average is always above 75°F (24°C).  Some of the highest peaks average 54°F (12°C), though temperatures there can fall below freezing.
 
  • There is no spring or fall in Costa Rica.  The seasons are called “verano” (summer) and “invierno” (winter).  Summer is also called the dry season  and stretches from December to April while the rainy season, or winter, lasts from May to November. However, temperatures vary from night to day more than between seasons. The difference in daily temperatures averages 14°F to 18°F (8°C to 10°C). From November to January, cool breezes from the north funnel through the mountains of North Americacausing a small drop in temperature. This is one of the few countries in the world in which polar air gets this close to the equator. The warmest months are March, April, and May, and the wettest months are September and October. Rainfall varies from less than 59 inches (1,500mm) to over 190 inches (4,800mm) during these months.  The country's average rainfall pattern is in the range of 79 to 158 inches (2,000 to 4,000 mm). Precipitation can come in the form of a tropical downpour with impressive lightning and thunder (“aguacero”), steady rain or, the least common, continuous light rain for several days (“temporal”).
  • Even in the rainy season, it does not rain all day, every day.  The rain usually begins in the early afternoon in the Central Valleyand other highland areas and later in the afternoon it reaches the Pacific lowlands.  Each season has its own beauty and unique characteristics.  In the rainy season the wealth of flora is plentiful and copiously vibrant.  The dry season witnesses the flowering of orchids, bougainvilleas, “reina de la noche” (queen of the night), as well as beautiful colorful trees that only flower at this time

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