Where is Costa Rica located? Locate Costa Rica on the map, read fun facts, and get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is nestled in the heart of Central America, located between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south.
Its unique geographic location blesses the country with an eastern coastline on the Caribbean Sea and a western one on the Pacific Ocean, offering a rare blend of landscapes and ecosystems in a small region.
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With a landmass spanning 51,100 square kilometers, it ranks as the world’s 129th largest nation, a small gem tucked within the world’s landmasses.
The country’s history traces back to the colonial era, gaining its independence from Spain in 1838, marking a critical turning point in its national identity.
Today, Costa Rica is widely known for its rich biodiversity, progressive environmental policies, and as a peaceful nation without a standing military. These attributes have crafted a distinctive international persona that extends well beyond its modest size and location!
Costa Rica also claims an additional 277 square miles of territorial waters.
It is home to the tallest peak, Cerro Chirripó, which reaches a remarkable elevation of 12,530 feet above sea level. In contrast, the country’s highest volcanic formation is the Irazú Volcano, which stands tall at 11,257 feet.
The country’s largest body of water, Lake Arenal, spans a significant surface area of 33 square miles and delves to a maximum depth of about 200 feet.
It’s important to note that the current size of Lake Arenal is due to human intervention, specifically, the establishment of a hydroelectric dam in 1979, which increased its water-holding capacity.
As for Costa Rica’s global positioning, it lies between the 9th and 10th degree latitudinal lines north of the equator, within the tropical climate zone known as the Tropics.
San José is the capital city of Costa Rica and has around 339,581 inhabitants. Within the larger metropolitan area, more than two million people are living.
Did you know?
Costa Rica has no army!
Where is Costa Rica located on the map?
Check out the following map to see where Costa Rica is located in the world.
Costa Rica Fun Facts
Known for its rich biodiversity and commitment to environmental sustainability, Costa Rica holds numerous surprises that fascinate locals and tourists alike. Here are some intriguing fun facts about this unique Central American country.
1. Pura Vida Lifestyle: The national saying of Costa Rica is ‘Pura Vida’, which directly translates to ‘pure life’. More than just a saying, it represents the Costa Rican philosophy of appreciating life’s simplicity and not taking anything for granted. It’s used in various contexts, from greetings to expressing satisfaction.
2. Land of Volcanoes: Costa Rica is home to over 200 identifiable volcanic formations, with five of them currently classified as active. These include the majestic Arenal, the highest, Irazú, and Rincon de la Vieja, known for its distinctive nine separate but contiguous craters.
3. Biodiversity Hotspot: Despite covering only about 0.03% of the world’s land surface, Costa Rica boasts an impressive 5% of the planet’s biodiversity. It is home to more than 500,000 species of fauna and flora, making it one of the most biodiverse places on earth.
4. A Military-Free Nation: In 1948, Costa Rica made the bold decision to abolish its military. Instead, the funds typically allocated for defense are redirected towards education, healthcare, and environmental protection. This choice makes Costa Rica one of the few nations worldwide without a standing army.
5. Coffee Production: Costa Rica is renowned for its high-quality coffee production. The fertile volcanic soils and the high-altitude coffee plantations provide the perfect conditions for growing some of the world’s best coffee beans.
6. Hummingbird Capital of the World: With over 50 species of hummingbirds fluttering around, Costa Rica holds the title of the Hummingbird Capital of the World. Their dazzling array of colors and rapid wing movement captivate both residents and visitors.
7. Pioneer in Eco-Tourism: Costa Rica is a global leader in eco-tourism, attracting visitors worldwide with its natural beauty and commitment to sustainable travel. It is home to numerous national parks and protected areas, covering over 25% of its total land area.
8. Longevity Hotspot: The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica has been identified as one of the world’s five “Blue Zones,” regions where people live significantly longer than average, often surpassing 100 years of age. This longevity is attributed to a combination of the local diet, physical activity, and strong community ties.
How Can I Get Around In Costa Rica?
Navigating Costa Rica is relatively straightforward, with several transportation options available to meet different needs, preferences, and budgets. From affordable local transport services to private hire options, there’s a way for everyone to explore the bountiful beauty that Costa Rica has to offer!
Public Buses: If you’re traveling on a budget, public buses are the most affordable way to get around. Costa Rica has an extensive public transportation network that connects all major towns and cities, including popular tourist destinations!
Rental Cars: For those who value flexibility and the freedom to explore at their own pace, renting a car is an excellent choice. Numerous rental car agencies operate throughout the country, offering a wide range of vehicles. Keep in mind, though, that driving conditions in Costa Rica can be challenging due to winding roads and occasional heavy rainfall.
Taxis and Rideshares: Taxis are readily available in cities and larger towns, and they’re a convenient option for short distances. Be sure that the taxi uses a meter, or agree on a fare before setting off. Uber also operates in some parts of Costa Rica, providing an alternative to traditional taxis.
Domestic Flights: If you’re short on time or looking to skip long drives, consider taking a domestic flight.
Private Shuttles: For comfortable and hassle-free transfers, private shuttles are a great option. Many tourism operators offer shuttle services between popular tourist spots. While more costly than public buses, shuttles usually provide door-to-door service and often include amenities like Wi-Fi and air conditioning.
Costa Rica Tours and Activities
The allure of Costa Rica lies in its eclectic blend of activities and experiences, capturing the hearts of adventurers, nature lovers, and culture enthusiasts alike! The natural beauty of the country, interlaced with the rhythm of its culture and people, offers a multitude of ways to immerse oneself in its charm.
Exploring Costa Rica’s stunning biodiversity is an adventure in itself. With eco and wildlife tours available across the country, you can witness a mind-boggling variety of flora and fauna in some of the most breathtaking settings. From hiking through the cloud forests to venturing into the dense jungle, each experience is unique and magical in its own right.
The adrenaline junkie in you would find a haven in Costa Rica’s thrilling adventure activities. With landscapes that range from active volcanoes and dense rainforests to pristine beaches and roaring rivers, Costa Rica serves up adventure in many forms.
But Costa Rica isn’t just about nature and thrill; it’s also rich in culture and history. The charming cities of San Jose and Cartago offer a glimpse into the country’s past through their museums, architecture, and local markets!
Participating in cultural immersion tours, coffee plantation visits, or cooking classes can provide a deeper understanding of the local traditions and lifestyle.
Finally, if relaxation is on your agenda, Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches and world-class spas offer an opportunity for rest and rejuvenation. From the tranquil beaches to the luxurious wellness retreats in the mountains, you can indulge in a level of relaxation that blends perfectly with the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle.
Regardless of what brings you to Costa Rica, the variety of tours and activities available promise a richly diverse and memorable experience, showing you the best the country has to offer. Check out all there is to do in Costa Rica and book an exciting tour today!
Frequently Asked Questions about Where is Costa Rica
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Is Costa Rica part of the US/ United States?
Although many Americans like to travel to Costa Rica, it is an independent Central American country and definitely not part of the United States!
Is Costa Rica an island?
Costa Rica is not an island but a country on the mainland of Central America. However, some beautiful islands belong to Costa Rica, including Islas Murciélagos, Islas Catalinas, The islands in the Gulf of Nicoya, Caño Island Biological Reserve, Isla Uvita, and Cocos Island National Park.
What is the Costa Rica phone code?
The phone code of Costa Rica is +506.
How far is Costa Rica from the Equator?
Costa Rica is located 1,084.37 km (around 674 miles) north of the equator. That means that it is in the northern hemisphere.
Which continent is Costa Rica in? Is Costa Rica in North or South America?
Costa Rica is a Central American country. Geographically speaking, it belongs to the North American continent.
How do you say hello in Costa Rica?
The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish. To say hello, you can, therefore, say “Hola.” Another way to say hello is “Buenas.” You can use this any time of the day. To say good morning, use “Buenos días.” Good afternoon means “Buenas tardes,” and good night means “Buenas Noches” in Spanish.
Can I use dollars in Costa Rica?
The local currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colones; however, US Dollars are widely accepted throughout the country. Just be aware of the exchange rate. At places like local markets, it is recommended to pay in Colones to avoid bad exchange rates.
What is the best time of year to visit Costa Rica?
The best time to visit Costa Rica depends on which kind of activities you would like to do. Costa Rica has two seasons, dry season and wet season. The dry season runs from December to April. On the other hand, the green season lasts from May to November.