Costa Rica Information

Costa Rica's national territory of 51,100 square kilometers (19,700 square miles) makes it slightly smaller than West Virginia, or about 1/4 larger than Switzerland. But unlike those landlocked places, Costa Rica has some 755 miles of coastline on two oceans, which means countless beaches, coral reefs and other marine wonders.

Costa Rica is a mountainous country, though most of its peaks are of volcanic origin. Those volcanoes and mountain ranges together form an inter-continental divide that runs northwest to southeast through the middle of the country, and which divides it into Pacific and Caribbean slopes.

As you would expect from a country famous for its rainforests, Costa Rica has no shortage of heat and humidity, but the climate is actually more varied than you might expect. The country basically has two seasons: green, which runs from May to December, and dry, from December to May.

Thought the dry months coincide with the peak of the tourism season, most people who visit Costa Rica during the green season also enjoy plenty of sunshine. A typical green-season day is sunny all morning, clouding up around noon, with downpours in the afternoon. And during the wettest months in the rest of the country -- September and October -- the Caribbean coast actually receives very little rain.

Agriculture is an important part of Costa Rica's economy and coffee has historically been the country's most important crop. The country continues to produce some of the best coffee in the world, but in recent years less traditional crops have been playing an increasingly important economic role.

The banana is the second most important export crop, with vast plantations covering parts of the Caribbean lowlands, but there is also significant land dedicated to to such things as pineapples, sugar, oranges, rice, cattle, hardwoods and ornamental plants.

Though agriculture remains an important part of the national economy, the tourism industry continues to grow, providing new employment opportunities, and stimulating the conservation of the biodiversity that visitors want to see.

It's easy to get around in Costa Rica, and if you stick with public transport, traveling within the country can be quite inexpensive. There is bus service to just about every town and city, and buses that serve main tourist destinations are of high quality. Taxis are also plentiful and inexpensive, and in San Jose they are required to use meters for most trips.

The quickest way to get around is to fly, and several domestic airlines offer daily flights to most of the popular tourist destinations. There are also plenty of car rental agencies, most of which rent four-wheel-drive vehicles.

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