About Costa Rica
Officially Republic of Costa Rica, republic (1995 est. pop. 3,301,210), 19,575 sq mi (50,700 sq km), Central America. It is bounded on the north by Nicaragua, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, on the southeast by Panama, and on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean. The capital and largest city is San José . In addition to the capital, other important cities are Alajuela , Heredia , Puntarenas , and Cartago .
One of the most stable countries in Latin America, Costa Rica has a long democratic tradition, a literacy rate of over 90%, and no army. The population is largely of Spanish descent, and the official language is Spanish. About 95% of the people are Roman Catholics.
Costa Rica is an agricultural country, although industry is being developed at a moderate pace. Industries include food processing and the manufacture of textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, and electronics. Coffee, bananas, sugar, and beef are exported, as well as manufactured goods such as textiles. Petroleum, machinery, consumer durables, chemicals, and foodstuffs are imported. Tourism is the second biggest money-earner, after agriculture.
The country is governed under the 1949 constitution. The president, a strong executive, serves a four-year term and may not be immediately reelected. The unicameral legislature is also elected for four years. There is universal adult suffrage, and voting is compulsory. The country is divided into seven provinces.
*Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) 2003.