Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Costa Rica means "Rich Coast". It is the only Latin American country included in the list of the world's 22 older democracies. It abolished its army in 1949.
It is one of the most prosperous countries in Central America and it has high educational standards, and a high average life expectancy of 78 years. The country's resources include its forests, but it lacks minerals apart from some bauxite and manganese. Manufacturing is increasing with electronics to the fore; tourism is a fast-growing industry with ecotourism gaining in importance.
The Catholic heritage remains important in everyday language and culture and Catholicism is considered the official religion of the country. The principal challenge facing Catholicism is the rise of evangelical Protestantism, which now claims the loyalty of more than one-tenth of the population.
Costa Rica’s climate ranges from tropical on the coastal plains to temperate in the interior highlands. Average annual temperatures range from 31.7° C (89° F) on the coast to 16.7°C (62° F) inland. A rainy season lasts from April or May to December, and the annual precipitation in the country averages about 2540 mm (about 100 in).
Nearly four-fifths of Costa Rica’s population is of European descent; as a result, Costa Rica has the largest percentage of people of Spanish descent in Central America. The Valle Central, with more than half the country’s population, is the most predominantly Spanish region in both its manner of living and its ancestry. The next largest group consists of mestizos (people of mixed European and Indian ancestry), who constitute close to one-fifth of the country’s inhabitants.
The United States and Costa Rica have a history of close and friendly relations based on respect for democratic government, human freedoms, free trade, and other shared values. The country generally supports the U.S. in international fora, especially in the areas of democracy and human rights.
Costa Rica is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Costa Rican women and children are subjected to sex trafficking within the country. women and girls from Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and other Latin American countries have been identified in Costa Rica as victims of sex trafficking and forced domestic service.
Costa Rica has one of the most literate populations in Latin America; by the year 2000, adult illiteracy dropped to 4.4% (males, 4.5%; females, 4.3%) (UNESCO). Approximately 22.8% of the government's expenditure went toward education in the latter half of the 1990s. As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 6.1% of GDP.
Some of the most important Tourist Destinations in Costa Rica include San Jose, Alajuela, Limon, Puntarenas, Cartago, Guanacaste and Heredia among others. Among the popular Tourist Destinations in Costa Rica, mention must be made of Alajuela. The capital city of the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica, Alajuela attracts tourists in droves.
As of 1995 100% of the population had access to safe water. The crude death rate was 4 per 1000 population in 1995, down from 22.1 in 1930. In 1998 life expectancy was of 76.9 years.
Popular recreations are birdwatching, mountain climbing, swimming, water skiing and deep sea fishing. Soccer is the national sport and there are matches every Sunday in San Jose form May through October. Horseback riding is widely available.