Costa Rica, spanish for "rich coast", is a small Central American country, bordering Nicaragua to the North and Panamá to the Southeast. Its territory covers a total area of 51,100 km ², it is bathed in the east by the Caribbean Sea and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. Its capital, political and economic center is San José and its official language is Spanish.
Costa Rica is best known for its natural resources and its political stability. While being 8 times smaller than California, the country holds 5 % of the world’s biodiversity and 25 % of its territory consists of protected forests and reserves. Boasting the greatest density of species in the world along with a wide range of landscapes Costa Rica has become a natural paradise with countless things to offer, to visitors as well as locals.
Being the first country in the world to abolish its army, Costa Rica has been an example to many nations and continues. It has also demonstrated 6 decades of uninterrupted democracy. Ex-president Oscar Arias (1986-1990 and 2006-2010) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987. This is why Costa Rica is often referred to as the Switzerland of Central America.
Pura Vida! According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica has been ranked as the happiest country in the world in both 2010 and 2012. The index includes 151 countries across the globe, and measures three components: life expectancy, well-being and an ecological footprint (www.happyplanetindex.org).
You will find historical and cultural information about Costa Rica in the sustainability link.