Costa Rica Travel Guide: Country & Destination Information for Visiting


Costa Rica travel guide and destination overview of the country. Key information, general overview, and more for travelers to Costa Rica.

Updated: 2019-05-12.

Republic of Costa Rica •

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 and Caribbean islands to the east.

It is a popular destination for many global surfers, as its beaches are famous for great surf. It is also one of the foremost leaders in staying green. It has been ranked as “the greenest country in the world,” and plans by the government are in order to make Costa Rica the first carbon-neutral country a decade from now.

Costa Ricans, colloquially called Ticos, pride themselves on their country’s biodiversity; though it is a tiny fraction of the Earth’s landmass, it contains around 5% of the world’s biodiversity. It has a well-established system of national parks and protected areas, covering nearly a quarter of its land area, the largest in the world by percentage.

The country is steeped in culture, from the mixture of the settlers in the region and the numerous indigenous tribes. Spanish is the official language, but there are a number of local languages spoken throughout. The food of Costa Rica is similar in style and preparation to that of its Central American neighbors, but there are some regional variations and local specialties to be had, as well.

Pura Vida is the country’s official slogan, meaning “the pure life” or “full of life,” and locals sometimes say it as a greeting and farewell.

flag of Costa Rica

Costa Rica Travel Information & Key Points

General points to know about the country of Costa Rica – demographics, important ages, phone numbers, key statistics, and more, whether you’re traveling there or not.

Capital: San José (& largest city)

Population: 4.9 million (2019 estimate)

Language(s)Spanish & various regional languages

President: Carlos Alvarado

1st Vice President: Epsy Campbell Barr

Currency: Colón (CRC)

Area: 51,100 km2 (19,700 mi2)

Dialing Code: +506

Time Zone: Central Standard Time “CST” (UTC-6)
•   DST/Summer Time: N/A

Demonym: Costa Rican or Tico (what is a demonym?)

Endonym: Costa Rica (their name for their country)

Emergency Number: 911

Drinking Age: 18

Smoking Age: None (but 18 to purchase)

Age of Consent: 18

Drives on the: Right

Electricity & Adapter: 120 V, 60 Hz, Plug Types A / B (define)

ISO Country Code: CR

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