Coastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major volcanoes
Tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands
Nationality: Costa Rican(s)
Population: 4,755,234 (July 2014 est.)
Languages: Spanish (official), English
Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%
Prior to the global economic crisis, Costa Rica enjoyed stable economic growth. The economy contracted 1.3% in 2009 but resumed growth at about 4.5% per year in 2010-12. While the traditional agricultural exports of bananas, coffee, sugar, and beef are still the backbone of commodity export trade, a variety of industrial and specialized agricultural products have broadened export trade in recent years. High value-added goods and services, including microchips, have further bolstered exports.
Costa Rica and Panama enjoy the highest standard of living in Central America. Most Costa Ricans live in small wooden or cement-block houses. The floors are of wood or tile, and the roofs of zinc or corrugated iron. The urban poor generally live in overcrowded, usually rented, slum dwellings. Squatters' shanties (shacks) can be found on the fringes of the cities.
US Military Presence/Support