costa rica

Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

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Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

Costa Rica constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949. It is the only Latin American country in the list of the world's 22 older democracies. Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index, ranked 69th in the world in 2011.

Costa Rica was cited by the United Nations United Nations Development Programme in 2010 as one of the countries that have attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, and in 2011 was highlighted by UNDP for being a good performer on environmental sustainability and having a better record on human development and inequality than the median of their region. It was also the only country to meet all five criteria established to measure environmental sustainability. The country is ranked fifth in the world, and first among the Americas, in terms of the 2012 Environmental Performance Index.

In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021. The New Economics Foundation ranked Costa Rica first in its 2009 Happy Planet Index, and once again in 2012. The NEF also ranked Costa Rica in 2009 as the greenest country in the world. In 2012 Costa Rica became the first country in the American continent to ban recreational hunting after the country’s legislature approved the popular measure by a wide margin.

some cities

experiences (3)

have you spent time in costa rica? share your experiences

5

costa rica - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 11/25/13.

How much time have you spent in Costa Rica?

Around 2 years.

How old were you when you came to Costa Rica? Where were you before?

30. I grew up in Ohio, then moved to Chicago for most of my adult life.

What brought you to Costa Rica? What made you choose Costa Rica over any other place you could've gone?

Our three criteria were 1) Warm 2) Cheap enough to live off of freelancing and 3) Reliable enough electricity and internet to do our jobs. That narrows it down more than you'd think. I had visited Costa Rica years ago and enjoyed it, and its size and diversity made it really attractive to explore. Nearly everywhere we've lived in Costa Rica has been a serendipitous decision, but usually it's been a matter of riding that line between feeling isolated and being close enough to the big-city services we need.

Describe the city you live in in Costa Rica and your impressions of it.

We started out in San Antonio de Escazu, southeast of San Jose. The Northern part of the Escazu canton is really developed, popular with expats, and not really my cup of tea, but the farther you go up into the mountains, the more beautiful and rural it gets. We lived on the town square, and it...

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5

costa rica - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 09/27/13.

What brought you to Costa Rica? Where were you before?

My lease was up and had a chance to move and open a business. I was in Georgia before.

Describe the part(s) of Costa Rica you've lived in.

I lived on the Guanacste Peninsula in a beach town called Samara.

What are the the people of Costa Rica like?

Ticos are amazingly relaxed. They move slowly and pretty much just try to enjoy life.

How did your social life evolve?

I met most of the people I knew from the bar we opened. People there were usually transitory, only being in town for a few weeks or months at a time. There were some people who had been there for years but they were a rarity.

Has your race, nationality, gender, etc. ever affected how you were treated or how people reacted to meeting you in Costa Rica?

Being white had its disadvantages in Costa Rica. You are easy to pick out of a crowd. Even the best countries have some crime and being different might make you an easier target. Also buying things as a 'tourist' is always more expensive than having a Tico friend do it for you

Were there any language barriers?

Yes. I was able to speak moderate spanish and hold most conversations. Ticos use a...

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2

san jose, costa rica - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 10/30/13.

How much time have you spent in Costa Rica?

Two years.

How old were you when you came to Costa Rica? Where were you before?

I was 31 and previously lived in the Midwest, USA.

What brought you to Costa Rica? What made you choose Costa Rica over any other place you could've gone?

It was an optional assignment for work. I couldn't choose any other country, but I decided to go because I had done some traveling before and felt like I needed a fresh start in life.

Describe the city you lived in in Costa Rica and your impressions of it.

I lived in Zapote, a middle class suburb of San Jose, the capital city.

How does the city you lived in compare to other cities in Costa Rica? What drew you to the city you lived in over other cities in Costa Rica?

My job was there, so I couldn't choose anywhere else. It's the only large city in Costa Rica, so it was very congested compared to others. If foreigners think anything if Costa Rica, I think they imagine tropical rainforests and such. CR has plenty of those, but 75% of the population lives in and around San Jose. It's a concrete jungle and you won't see any rainforests, only barbed wire and security gates.

What are the...

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demographics

population

4,636,348 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

white (including mestizo) 94%, black 3%, Amerindian 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1%

languages

Spanish (official), English

religions

Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 24.2% (male 572,665/ female 547,458)

15-64: 15-64 years: 69.3% (male 1,614,495/ female 1,597,010)

65+: 65 years and over: 6.6% (male 141,075/ female 163,645) (2012 est.)

urbanization

64% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

77.89 years

literacy rate

94.9%

average years of education

12 years

economics

cost of living

4/10 (medium-low)

economic overview

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% per year in 2010-11....

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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% per year in 2010-11. 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. Tourism continues to bring in foreign exchange, as Costa Rica's impressive biodiversity makes it a key destination for ecotourism. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and relatively high education levels, as well as the incentives offered in the free-trade zones; and Costa Rica has attracted one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America. However, many business impediments remain such as high levels of bureaucracy, legal uncertainty due to overlapping and at times conflicting responsibilities between agencies, difficulty of enforcing contracts, and weak investor protection. Poverty has remained around 15-20% for nearly 20 years, and the strong social safety net that had been put into place by the government has eroded due to increased financial constraints on government expenditures. Unlike the rest of Central America, Costa Rica is not highly dependent on remittances as they only represent about 2% of GDP. Immigration from Nicaragua has increasingly become a concern for the government. The estimated 300,000-500,000 Nicaraguans in Costa Rica legally and illegally are an important source of mostly unskilled labor but also place heavy demands on the social welfare system. The US-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) entered into force on 1 January 2009 after significant delays within the Costa Rican legislature. CAFTA-DR has increased foreign direct investment in key sectors of the economy, including the insurance and telecommunications sectors recently opened to private investors. President CHINCHILLA was not able to gain legislative approval for fiscal reform, her top priority. She has indicated she will continue to pursue fiscal reform in 2012. President CHINCHILLA and the PLN were successful in passing a tax on corporations to fund an increase for security services.

major industries

microprocessors, food processing, medical equipment, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products

microprocessors, food processing, medical equipment, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products

gdp per capita

$11,900 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

4.2% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 6.3% industry: 21.7% services: 72% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

7.7% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

24.2% (2010 est.)

gini index

50.3 (2009) country comparison to the world: 22 45.9 (1997)