About Costa Rica!



Location


Costa Rica is located in Central America, which is attached with North America and South America. It borders Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south and Ecuador and Colombia to the southeast. Warm weather predominates in Costa Rica; nevertheless a number of micro climates can be found throughout its territory. According to the National Institute for Statistics and Censuses (INEC), Costa Rica´s population is of 4 890 379 people.


Administrative Divisions


Costa Rica is composed of seven provinces, which in turn are divided into 81 cantons and these in 463 districts. The provinces are San José, the capital; Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Limón. It comprises 51 100 square kilometers (19 700 sp mi).


Official language


Spanish. A large part of the population speaks English as a second language.


Official currency


Colón (¢). For more information on exchange rates for Dollars and Euros click on this link: Tipo de cambio. Many places take $50 bills or less. Most places won´t take $100 bills. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted. The use of cashier´s checks is not recommended since most places won´t take them.


Electricity


97% of Costa Rica´s territory has electric energy. The residency voltage is of 110v. Sockets and plugs are type A / B.


Office hours


Government sector: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. from Monday to Friday. State banks: 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Private sector: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Commercial businesses are open weekdays as well as Saturdays and Sundays until noon.


Outstanding feature


Following the brief Costa Rican Civil War, it permanently abolished its army on December 1st 1948. Since then peace became one of Costa Rica´s main features.


Symbols


Costa Rica´s national symbols represent its people´s identity and traditions. Some of these symbols are: the National Anthem, the National Emblem, the National Flag, the White-tailed Deer, the Guaria Morada, the Marimba, the Ox Cart, the Yigüirro and the Guanacaste Tree.


Climate


In general, Costa Rica has very pleasant weather during the dry season, which is from December to April, as well as throughout the rainy season, which is from May to November. During this season, rain is expected throughout the afternoon while mornings can be very sunny. The climate is tropical year round, with an average of 22º C (72º F). This can increase considerably in coastal areas. However, the country has micro climates depending on elevation, topography, rainfall and the geography of each particular region; which gives origin to different types of vegetation.



Different climate categories can be distinguished:
o Paramo: over 3,000 m of elevation with minimum temperatures of 0º C.
o Warm Temperate: over 1,500 m of elevation, with temperatures between 14º C and 18º C.
o Tropical Wet: from sea level to 1,100 m of elevation and temperatures between 25º C and 26ºC.
o Tropical: dry season, temperatures between 26º C and 27º C.
o Intermountain Valleys: between 1,000 and 1,100 m of elevation; characteristic of the Central Valley. Temperatures range between 14º C and 18º C.

These climatic and topographic characteristics generate the different types of forest: cloud forest, rain forest, dry forest, and transitional forest. For more information on Costa Rica´s climate conditions access Costa Rica´s Instituto Meteorológico web site.




X