General Information

Costa Rica is a rugged, rain forested Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. Though its capital, San Jose, is home to cultural institutions like the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife including spider monkeys and quetzal birds.

Population

The 2011 census counted a population of 4,301,712 people distributed among the following groups: 83.6% whites or mestizos, 6.7% mulattoes, 2.4% Native American, 1.1% black or Afro-Caribbean, and 5.2% others.

Political Structure

Costa Rica is composed of seven provinces, which in turn are divided into 81 cantons (Spanish: cantón, plural cantones), each of which is directed by a mayor. Mayors are chosen democratically every four years by each canton. There are no provincial legislatures. The cantons are further divided into 473 districts (distritos).

Infrastructure and Economy

The economy of Costa Rica is very stable and has evolved from an economy that depended solely on tourism, agriculture, to one more diverse, based on electronics exports, medical manufacturing and IT services.

Although the economy of Costa Rica is in a structure change, the agriculture still has a very high status. The agrarian sector contributed, in 1995, with only 18% of the gross domestic product (GDP), however it obtained from 1990 until 1995 the 63 percent of the export income in this period. The traditional export products Bananas and Coffee still are among the important foreign exchange earners of the country. The tourism has developed its condition to one of the most important foreign-exchange generators for the Costa Rican economy.  The construction of first-class textil and high-tech industries (Intel) advance constantly. With approximately 20 000 km of streets, including 700 km of the Pan-American Highway, Costa Rica is in traffic, technically well opened.

Language

The primary language spoken in Costa Rica is Spanish, which features characteristics distinct to the country. Some native languages are still spoken in indigenous reservations; the most numerically important are the Bribri, Maléku, Cabécar and Ngäbere languages.

Currency

The Costa Rican Colon is the currency of Costa Rica and the second currency is the US Dollar.

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