Geography

Costa Rica is a small country in Central America that covers 0.03% of the globe. It is surrounded by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. There are less than 20,000 square miles in this country that hosts over 65 active and dormant volcanoes, 14 river systems, and nearly 6% of the entire Earth's biodiversity! Less than 5 million people live in Costa Rica.

Low lands along the coast, as well as in the north and central regions, support rich growth of bananas, coffee, and even pineapple. This is also where nearly 75% of the country's population can be found. Outside of these more populated areas, over 25% of the land in Costa Rica is legally protected. A majority of this land is mountainside rain forest, including some of the world's only cloudforests, so named because their elevation keep them surrounded by clouds most days. Ecotourism is big business to this country that makes a point of keeping its defining state of naturalness in place for generations.

There are 7 provinces that further breakup the small spaces here. Most of them share defining characteristics of landscape, but a couple of them are very unique. For example, the Nicoya Peninsula is a part of the Guanacaste province, a more arid, ranching locale than the rest of the country.

Costa Rica makes for a wonderful place to visit developed cities, like San Jose, while also being right on the edge of undeveloped wilderness. Make sure and do a little planning to focus on the area you would like to visit best, or spend a little longer and see it all!