Costa Rica Country Guide
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Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a republic in Central America,
bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the east-southeast, the Pacific Ocean
to the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.
Costa Rica was the first country in the world to constitutionally abolish its army.
Among Latin American countries, Costa Rica ranks 4th in terms of the 2007 Human
Development Index, and 48th worldwide. Costa Rica is ranked 5th in the world in
terms of the 2008 Environmental Performance Index, up from the 15th place in 2006.
In 2007 the government of Costa Rica stated that they want to be the first country
to become carbon neutral by 2021.
Costa Rica is located on the Central American isthmus, 10° North of the equator
and 84° West of the Prime Meridian. It borders both the Caribbean Sea (to the east)
and the North Pacific Ocean (to the west), with a total of 1,290 kilometers (802
mi) of coastline (212 km / 132 mi on the Caribbean coast and 1,016 km / 631 mi on
the Pacific). It is about the size of West Virginia and shares that state's reputation
for excellent whitewater kayaking/rafting opportunities.
Two of the country's most renowned rivers in that regard are the Rio Pacuare and
the Rio Reventazon located near the city of Turrialba about two hours east of San
Other notable whitewater areas are the Sarapiqui Valley area, several Pacific coast
rivers near Quepos, and the southern Pacific drainage area around San Isidro de
Costa Rica also borders Nicaragua to the north (309 km / 192 mi of border) and Panama
to the south-southeast (639 km / 397 mi of border). In total, Costa Rica comprises
51,100 square kilometers (19,730 sq. mi) plus 589.000 square kilometers of territorial
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