Costa Rica is the second smallest country in Central America about the size of the states of Vermont and New Hampshire combined or about the same size as West Virginia or Nova Scotia. It is bordered on the north by Nicaragua and to the south by Panama. The CIA World Fact Book estimates the population of Costa Rica (July 2011) to be roughly 4.57 million with 1.4 million people living in the greater Metropolitan Area of San Jose. The country is divided into 7 provinces: Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, and San Jose.
Situated just 8 degrees from the Equator, Costa Rica is definitely in the Tropics boasting 11 climatic zones with diverse local microclimates, many of which are separated by a drive of only an hour or two. You will find dry forest, rain forest, and mountain cloud forest, and lowlands, wetlands and other topography. The Pacific Ocean is to the West and the Caribbean Sea to the East. The nation's 11 distinct ecological zones are home to an astounding array of flora and fauna--approximately five percent of all known species on earth.
Tourists, retirees and local residents can enjoy a mind boggling list of outdoor activities: surfing on both coasts, Kayaking, shooting the rapids, scuba diving, snorkeling the vibrant coral reefs, zipping through the treetops like “George of the Jungle,” hiking through lush tropical rainforests or misty mountain cloud forests, horse-back riding along the beautiful white sand beaches, climbing a volcano, soaking in thermal hot springs, enjoying some of the best fishing the world offers, playing golf, tennis, and of course soccer. About the only activity you will not find here involves SNOW!
Costa Rica’s bio-diversity, stunning beauty, friendly and helpful people, laid-back lifestyle, near perfect tropical climate, low violent-crime rate, stable democratic government and low cost of living has earned this tiny country world-wide recognition and has resulted in thousands of foreigners making this paradise their home.
This brief introduction can in no way cover all there is to know about Costa Rica, which is why we have provided more in-depth information in the various sections below.
Of course, Costa Rica has its problems as does any developing nation. Costa Rica’s poor infrastructures, lagging technology, uncontrolled over development (which results in serious damage to the environment) strained Social Services and governmental inefficiency, are all results of the country’s phenomenal growth. The Costa Rican Government is aware of these problems and is making rapid progress in correcting them. The current state of the global economic condition has made its impact here as well: rising cost of living, inflation, increasing crime rate and poverty. However, compared to its Latin American neighbors, the United States and much of Europe, Costa Rica is still one of the best places in the world in which to live!
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