Population: 4,301,712 (est.)
Language(s): Spanish, Mekatelyu, Bribri
Capital: San José
- The Costa Rican colón is the official currency of Costa Rica.
- Around 70.5% of the population identify themselves as Roman Catholics (with 44.9 percent practicing, 25.6 percent nonpracticing), 13.8% state they are Evangelical Protestants, 11.3% report that they do not have a religion, and 4.3% declare that they belong to another religion.
- Costa Rica hosts more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity even though its landmass only takes up .03% of the planets surface.
- The average wage laborer is about $10 per day, the highest in Central America.
- Less than 1% of Costa Ricans are of indigenous ancestry. 94% are of European or mestizo ethnicity.
- Though Costa Rica has its own currency, many stores list prices in terms of US$.
- Costa Rica is one of the most valued environmental destinations. Approximately 25% of the country has protected forests and reserves. There are more than 100 different protected areas to visit.
- The Costa Rican government is democratic, with presedential elections every 4 years, and no standing army.
- Current Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla is the first woman president of Costa Rica.
- Costa Rica is the only Latin American country included in the list of the world’s 22 older democracies.
Costa Rica, officially the Republic of 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 constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949. It is the only Latin American country included in the list of the world’s 22 older democracies. Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index (HDI), ranked 69th in the world in 2011.
Costa Rica was cited by the United Nations United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2010 as one of the countries that have attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, and in 2011 was highlighted by UNDP for being a good performer on environmental sustainability and having a better record on human development and inequality than the median of their region. It was also the only country to meet all five criteria established to measure environmental sustainability. The country is ranked fifth in the world, and first among the Americas, in terms of the 2012 Environmental Performance Index.
In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica first in its 2009 Happy Planet Index, and once again in 2012. The NEF also ranked Costa Rica in 2009 as the greenest country in the world. In 2012 Costa Rica became the first country in the American continent to ban recreational hunting after the country’s legislature approved the popular measure by a wide margin.