PostHeaderIcon Costa Rica

The Republic of Costa Rica is located between the Latin American countries of Panama and Nicaragua which both lie on the isthmus of Central America. To the east of Costa Rica the Caribbean Sea can be found while to the west, the deep ocean of the North Pacific. To name just a few, Cocos Island, Puntarenas and Calero Island are some of Costa Rica’ s offshore islands; Calero Island being the largest. There are seven provinces in Costa Rica, including Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Limón, Puntarenas, Heredia and San José.

Constitutionally, Costa Rica is a democratic republic with two vice presidents and a cabinet. Elections are held every four years at which time 57 delegates are chosen for the Legislative Assembly, while the President and Vice Presidents are elected. Legislative, executive and judicial powers in Costa Rica are vested in the Legislative Assembly, the President and Supreme Court respectively. The Supreme Court has four chambers, one of which deals with Civil Law, Criminal Law, Merchant Law and Constitutional Law.

Costa Rica has a demographic structure comprising mostly Mestizos, whites, Afro Caribbean, Chinese and Amerindian. The total population is about 4,509,290, 94% of which is made up of primarily Whites and Mestizos. While Spanish ancestry is common amongst Costa Ricans, large numbers of Costa Ricans are descendants of Lebanese, English, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish, Irish, Italian, French, Jewish and German families which at one point or the other settled in Costa Rica or established relations with Costa Ricans. Costa Ricans of African ancestry represent a mere 6% of the entire population. Among the Amerindians who reside in indigenous reserves, an expatriate of German, Dutch, British and Canadian nationals add to Costa Rica’s interesting demographics. Most Afro Caribbean Costa Ricans are the descendants of Jamaicans who worked on railway projects which were undertaken in the 1880s, which represent an important era in Costa Rica’s history as a time when banana production took over coffee as the main export.

In 1949, Roman Catholicism was constitutionally named the official religion of Costa Rica. The majority of Costa Ricans practice Christianity with 70.5% representing followers of the Roman Catholic Church and 13.8% representing followers of Evangelical Protestant Churches. Other religious faiths account for about 4.3% of Costa Rican followers. Culture in Costa Rica is often described as colourful because of the country’s rich history during which Meso and South American traditional cultures were said to have met. Currently, Costa Rica’s culture is regarded as unique, exerting the influences of both indigenous and Latin American cultures.

Costa Rica has been criticized for an inflation rates which in both 2007 and 2008 were considered the 4th highest in Latin America. However, partly due to progressive taxation policies and incentives offered to foreign and local entrepreneurs alike, exports increased to Russia and South Asian countries, as well as in new sectors such as pharmaceuticals, software development and financial outsourcing. Recently, Costa Rica became known as the country with the highest rate of tourist arrival in Latin America, particularly as ecotourism is continuously being developed into a prosperous and relevant sector of the economy. It is measured that Costa possesses 5% of the world’s biodiversity and the greatest percentage of protected areas and national parks internationally.