COSTA RICAN Facts & Figures

Size: 19,653 square miles

Population: 4,608,426

Capital: San José

Currency: Costa Rican colón

Weather / Climate:

Because Costa Rica is located between 8 and 12 degrees north of the Equator, the climate is tropical year round. However, the country has many microclimates depending on elevation, rainfall, topography, and by the geography of each particular region.

Costa Rica's seasons are defined by how much rain falls during a particular period and not to the four seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. The year can be split into two periods, the dry season known to the residents as summer, and the rainy season, known locally as winter. The "summer" or dry season goes from December to April, and "winter" or rainy season goes from May to November, which almost coincides with the Atlantic hurricane season, and during this time, it rains constantly in some regions.

The location receiving the most rain is the Caribbean slopes of the Central Cordillera mountains, with an annual rainfall of over 5,000 mm (196.9 in). Humidity is also higher on the Caribbean side than on the Pacific side. The mean annual temperature on the coastal lowlands is around 27 °C (81 °F), 20 °C (68 °F) in the main populated areas of the Central Cordilera, and below 10 °C (50 °F) on the summits of the highest mountains.

Taken from wikipedia

COSTA RICAN languages

The official and predominant language of Costa Rica is Spanish; the variety spoken there, Costa Rican Spanish, is a form of Central American Spanish. In addition, several Chibchan languages, including Boruca and Bribri, are spoken there. The Oto-Manguean language Chorotega is extinct. An English-based creole language, Limonese Creole, commonly called Mekatelyu, is spoken by the descendants of Jamaican laborers on the east coast of the country. Mennonite immigrants to the country also speak Plautdietsch.

Taken from:




According to the United Nations, in 2009 Costa Rica has an estimated population of 4,579,000 people. Together, whites and mestizos make up a 94% of the population, 3% are black people, 1% Amerindians, 1% Chinese, and 1% other.

Just under 3% of the population is of black African descent who are called Afro-Costa Ricans or West Indians and are English-speaking descendants of 19th century black Jamaican immigrant workers. Another 1% is composed of ethnic Chinese, and less than 1% are Middle Easterners, mainly of Lebanese descent.

There is also a community of North American retirees from the United States and Canada, followed by fairly large numbers of European Union expatriates (esp. Scandinavians and from Germany) come to retire as well, and Australians.

The indigenous population today numbers about 60,000 (1% of the population) with some Miskito and Garifuna (mixed African and West Indian with indigenous Arawak/Carib/Taíno) peoples live in the coastal regions.

Descendants of 19th century West Indian and Jamaican immigrant workers constitute an English-speaking minority and at 3% of the population—number about 96,000 to 100,000.

An estimated 10% of the Costa Rican population is made up of Nicaraguans.[3] There is also a number of Colombian refugees. Moreover, Costa Rica took in lots of refugees from a range of other Latin American countries fleeing civil wars and dictatorships during the 1970s and 80s - notably from Chile and Argentina.

Almost 100,000 Costa Ricans (2% of the country's population) live abroad, mostly in the United States, Mexico and Spain.


4,608,426 (2011 est.)

Population density

89.6 hab/sq km

Median age

Total: 27.5 years

Male: 27.1

Female: 28 years (2009 est.)

Population growth rate

1.5% (2005–2010)


Noun: Costa Rican(s)

Adjective: Costa Rican

Ethnic groups

White & Mestizo 94%

Black/Afro-Caribbean 3%

Amerindian 1%

Chinese 1%

Other 1%

Taken from:


Costa Rican cuisine is known for being flavorful, yet fairly mild, with high reliance on fresh fruit and vegetables. The main staple, known as gallo pinto, consists of rice and black beans.

For lunch, the traditional national dish is called a casado. It again consists of rice and beans served side by side instead of mixed. There will usually be some type of meat (carne asada, fish, pork chop or chicken) and a salad to round out the dish. There may also be some extras like fried plantain (patacones or maduro), a slice of white cheese, and/or corn tortillas in accompaniment.

Salsa Lizano is ubiquitous as a condiment and as an ingredient in cooking various dishes, including gallo pinto. In many family gatherings or for special occasions is very common to prepare Arroz con Pollo (rice with chicken) accompanied with a Russian Salad, a salad made with beets, potatoes, hard boiled eggs and mayo. These two dishes are very popular in Costa Rican cuisine.

In taverns, various small dishes (boquitas) are served which include patacones with black bean dip, chimichurri (tomatoes and onions pickled in lime juice) accompanied with tortilla chips, chifrijo (rice and beans with chicharrones, which are fried pork skins, and chimichurri), ceviche (fish and/or shrimp with onions and pickled in lime juice) and vigorón (cabbage, chimichurri, yucca, served with a slice of lime).

Fresh vegetables are a primary ingredient in most main dishes, and members of the squash family are particularly common. These include varieties such as zucchini, zapallo, chayote, and ayote. Potato, onion, and sweet red pepper are other common ingredients. The above vegetables are in soups (sopas) which are usually made with beef or pork ribs as a base; also found in the soup will be corn on the cob, yucca, ñampi (a hairy root vegetable)and yam (camote).

Costa Ricans as a rule do not like spicy hot food; some do, as you will find home-made "chileras" in restaurants which can be made with vinegar, carrots, onions, other vegetables and always habanero chiles.

Coffee and bananas are the two main agricultural exports of the country and also form part of the local cuisine.

The plantain, a larger member of the banana family, is another commonly used fruit and can be served in a variety of ways. Ripe plantains (maduro) have a sweet flavor and can be fried in butter, baked in a honey or a sugar-based sauce, or put in soups. Green (unripe) plantains can be boiled in soups or can be sliced and fried to make patacones.

Sweet corn dishes are common traditional meals like pozol (corn soup), chorreadas (corn pancakes), etc.

Other Costa Rican food staples include corn tortillas, white cheese and picadillos. Tortillas frequently accompany meals, but rice is nearly always present. Traditionally people should often fill tortillas with whatever they are eating and eat it in the form of a gallo (direct translation: rooster, resembling soft Mexican taco), although this tradition is less in use currently and many restaurants serve tortillas only when requested by the client.

White cheese is non-processed cheese that is made by adding salt to milk in production.

Picadillosare meat and vegetable combinations where one or more vegetables are diced, mixed with beef and garnished with spices. Common vegetables used in picadillos are potatos, green beans, squash, ayote, chayote and arracache. Often, picadillos are eaten in the form of gallos.


The traditional breakfast drink, besides coffee, is called agua dulce ("sweet water") and is made from tapa de dulce an ingredient very similar to the American "brown sugar". "Tapa de Dulce" is made with Sugar cane juice which is boiled down in traditional trapiches and put to solidify in conical molds with the top cut off called tapas ("lids"). Then some of this tapa is scraped off and dissolved into boiling water or milk to make the agua dulce.

Coffee is usually served at breakfast and during traditional coffee breaks in the afternoon, usually around 3:00pm. It has traditionally been brewed in a native Costa Rican drip brew device called a chorreador.

The traditional drinks for lunch are called refrescos or frescos for short and consist of liquefied fruits diluted in either water or milk and sweetened to taste. They come in many varieties such as melon, blackberry, strawberry, watermelon, mango, tamarind, passion fruit, guanabana, cas and lemon or lime. Vinegar is gross.

Another popular drink is known as a granizado, a slush drink made of finely shaved ice and flavored syrup. The most popular flavor is kola. This is not the cola usually associated with carbonated soda but a fruity cherry flavored syrup. It is usually served with evaporated and/or condensed milk on top.

The national liquor of Costa Rica, guaro, is made from sugarcane. Natives often drink guaro as a shot or mixed with juice or soda. The cost of guaro is very cheap compared to beer (cerveza) in Costa Rica which has only one producer. Imperial is the most popular beer and is an American style lager that is also available in Light. Pilsen is a Bohemian style Pilsner produced in Costa Rica. During the 2007 holiday season, a 6.0 version with higher alcohol content was produced. Due to its popularity, production of Pilsen 6.0 was continued through mid-2008. At that point, it was replaced with Pilsen Red. It has a 5.2% alcohol content and a hint of red coloring. Bavaria is offered in Light, Dark or Gold. The Dutch beer, Heineken, is also produced in Costa Rica. Import beers can be found in some markets, but are common only in parts of San José or larger tourist towns.

Costa Ricaproduces an excellent rum: Ron Centenario and the Flor de Caña rums made in Nicaragua are also widely available

Taken from wikipedia

Places to go in COSTA RICA




Doing business in COSTA RICA

Costa Rica remains one of the safest and most attractive country for foreign investment in Latin America.The Costa Rican government, its ministries and financial institutions maintain a decidedly pro-U.S. and continental stance in regard to financial security and tax laws.

The stated aim is to entice primarily high-tech corporations to take advantage of Central America's most educated, computer literate and disciplined workforce, along with the modern production infrastructure the country is currently creating. The economy is being transformed from its longtime dependence on coffee, bananas and cattle raising to one centered on microprocessor production and high-tech telecommunications services.

This investment-friendly climate and government policy of making Costa Rica "the Silicon Valley of Latin America" has enticed commercial leaders such as Acer, Microsoft, GE, Abbot Laboratories, Continental Airways and Intel Corporation to make sizable investments here, both financially and physically, with major production and distribution facilities. Western Union has chosen Costa Rica to host its Latin American regional operations center. In 1998, for the first time ever, Costa Rica is poised to earn more from high technology exports than from coffee or bananas or even its lucrative, thriving tourism industry.

The World Bank has given Costa Rica an excellent bill of overall political and economic health. At its annual conference in El Salvador this year, the bank lauded the country as possessing "one of the most stable and robust" democracies in Latin America. It went on to praise the Costa Rica's "healthy economic growth rate" and "some of the best social indicators" on the continent.

Costa Rica is one of the most vocal supporters of continental free trade, and already has its own agreement with Mexico and other countries of the region. Costa Rica's numerous free trade zones and tax holiday opportunities are extremely enticing. They offer benefits such as exemption from import duties on raw materials, capital goods, parts and components; unrestricted profit repatriation; tax exemption on profits for eight years and a 50 percent exemption for the following four years.

A study done recently for the Ministry of Foreign Trade (COMEX) projects that by the year 2005, Costa Rica's export earnings will amount to $15.7-billion, about four times the current figure. Intel will be leading the way; its exports, from the three manufacturing facilities the processing giant is building here, are expected to reach an annual $3.5-billion by the year 2001.

High-tech companies will spur the export boom, while traditional exports, such as coffee and bananas, will fall in percentages of overall figures, but in terms of revenue, will continue to grow.

Costa Rica is building a competitive advantage for itself and the many high-tech companies who have chosen or are pondering the option to operate here. It is a country at a turning point in integrating itself into the modern world economy. Those doing business here will have the inside track.

CINDE, the Costa Rica Investment and Development Board, has been officially commissioned by the government of Costa Rica to be the main promoter and advisor to foreign investors. CINDE is a private, nonprofit organization that provides complete and updated information on the economy and the business environment in Costa Rica, and helps in the initial contact with potential investors. It has an office in New York to provide tailor-made services. PROCOMER, the Foreign Trade Promotion Institute, can help exporters understand relevant legislation, acquire export permits, seize the advantages of market opportunities and chart their way through related fields of endeavor. CADEXCO, the Costa Rican Exporters Chamber, provides information to entrepreneurs, private and public institutions on export procedures and requirements; trade barriers and how to overcome them; how to sell products abroad; information on export credit lines and export contracts, international prices, etc.

Taken from

COSTA RICA: useful links

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