Geography of Costa Rica

Location:Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama
Geographic coordinates:10 00 N, 84 00 W
Map references:Central America and the Caribbean
Area:total: 51,100 sq km
land: 50,660 sq km
water: 440 sq km
note: includes Isla del Coco
Area - comparative:slightly smaller than West Virginia
Land boundaries:total: 639 km
border countries: Nicaragua 309 km, Panama 330 km
Coastline:1,290 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climate:tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands
Terrain:coastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major volcanoes
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Chirripo 3,810 m
Natural resources:hydropower
Land use:arable land: 4.4%
permanent crops: 5.87%
other: 89.73% (2005)
Irrigated land:1,080 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season and landslides; active volcanoes
Environment - current issues:deforestation and land use change, largely a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching and agriculture; soil erosion; coastal marine pollution; fisheries protection; solid waste management; air pollution
Environment - international agreements:party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:four volcanoes, two of them active, rise near the capital of San Jose in the center of the country; one of the volcanoes, Irazu, erupted destructively in 1963-65

Costa Rica Quickstats

  • Population: 4,133,884 (July 2007 est.)
  • Area: 51,100 sq km
  • Density: 85 /km² (107th)
  • GDP (total): $48.77 billion (84th)
  • GDP (per capita): $12,000�(62nd)
  • Literacy: 96%

Languages of Costa Rica

Useful to know

  • Currency: Costa Rican colon (CRC)
  • Dial code: +506

International Trade

External sites

More Resources

Recent blog posts