Costa Rica Country Information


Costa Rica got its name in 1502 from Christopher Columbus, who reached it from the Caribbean on his voyage of discovery and referred to it as the ” rich coast ” ( costa rica). He was not referring to the abundant fruit-bearing plants, but to the gold jewelry that the natives wore and that made Costa Rica so rewarding for the Spaniards.


Costa Rica lies on the isthmus of Central America, a 150-120 km wide isthmus that separates the Caribbean in the east from the Pacific in the south. Costa Rica is part of Central America, which connects North America with South America. Costa Rica’s neighbors are Nicaragua in the north and Panama in the south. The total area covers 51,100 square kilometers, with Cocos Island accounting for 24 square kilometers.

Time zone

In winter the time difference between Germany and Costa Rica is – 6 hours, in summer – 7 hours.


The Republic of Costa Rica has an unusually large number of landscapes that form the habitat for a variety of plants and animals.

Topographically, five large areas can be distinguished: On the coasts of the two seas lie the lowlands, some of which are made up of rainforest. In the center of the country, the two cordillera stretch from northwest to southeast. The north-western cordillera is called the Guanacaste cordillera and only reaches moderate heights (up to 2,020 m). The southeastern Talamana cordillera consists of several extinct and still active volcanoes. The highest mountain in the country is formed by an active volcano, the Chirripó Grande, which reaches a height of 3,819 m. Between the two cordillera lies the Meseta Central, the highlands that offer the best living conditions at 1,100 – 1,500 m and where two thirds of the population live.


The oldest archaeological finds date back to between 12,000 and 8,000 BC. The first confirmed finds show that the land was settled by tribes of the Chibcha Indians, but they never reached the high culture of some South American Indian tribes. In 1502, Christopher Columbus discovered Costa Rica, which was conquered for the Spanish crown until 1523. Since the country was poor in mineral raw materials and precious metals, Costa Rica was not colonized until 1560. 1563 was Cartago by the Spaniards founded and remained the country’s capital until 1823. Like many other cities, it suffered severe damage from numerous earthquakes over the past centuries. As a result, many testimonies from the colonial era have been lost. On September 15, 1821 reached Costa Rica ‘s independence from Spain. Costa Rica is a politically calm country, which abolished its army in 1949 and since then has lived in politically stable conditions, which enabled the population to achieve a certain level of prosperity. Flora and fauna

About 5% of the world’s known land animal and plant species are found in Costa Rica, more than in all of Europe. Costa Rica pays great attention to gentle tourism, around 20% of the country’s area has been declared a national park. Because of its tropical blooms in the forests and savannahs, Costa Rica is often called “America’s flower garden”. A wide variety of birds, snakes, lizards and butterflies can be found in Costa Rica. There are toucans, sloths and all kinds of monkeys. business

The country’s economy is still heavily influenced by agriculture, with mostly bananas being grown in extensive plantations on both coasts. The famous coffee grows in the Central Valley, the highlands. But the computer age has also arrived in Costa Rica. The company Intel maintains a chip factory here, which has developed into a major foreign exchange broker. A third large economic sector has become tourism, with the government striving for “soft tourism”. Memberships

Costa Rica is a member of the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the World Trade Organization (WTO), Interpol, the OAS (Organization of American States), the UN Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), and in numerous regional institutions.


4.4 million people live in Costa Rica. For the most part, the population consists of a predominantly white (the descendants of European immigrants) and only a few mongrels such as 7% mestizos (descendants of Spaniards and locals) and mulattos (descendants of Spaniards and blacks). The blacks are mostly descended from immigrants from Jamaica who came here looking for work in Costa Rica. The original population, the Indians, today only includes about 1% of the population of Costa Rica. Another minority group are the Asians, who comprise around 70,000 people and mostly live in the cities of the central highlands.


Religious freedom prevails in Costa Rica, but the Catholic denomination has been elevated to the status of the state religion, to which around 80% of the population profess. About 10% belong to other Christian churches. The Protestant Church has seen the greatest growth recently. Language

As in almost all Central and South American countries, the national language is Spanish. English is spoken in settlements with a predominantly black population.

Food and drink

The main components of the food in Costa Rica are rice and beans. A national dish is “Gallo pinto” (colorful rooster) and “s opa negra ” (black soup) whose basic ingredients are rice and beans. Tomatoes, eggs and coriander refine this soup. In Costa Rica, however, you can usually put together your own lunch with plantains, rice, beans, steamed vegetables and roasted meat or fish. Another specialty are tamales, filled corn bags that are wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.

The residents of Costa Rica refer to themselves as a beer-drinking nation. But the sugar cane schnapps ” Guaro ” is not to be despised either, even if it is to be enjoyed with caution.


To enter Costa Rica, travelers need a passport, which should be valid for at least the day after arrival. No visa is required for stays of less than 90 days. However, you should be able to show a return or onward ticket and proof of finance that proves availability of USD 100 per month.

Medical advice

You can find the latest information on vaccinations from your family doctor or on the website of the Center for Travel Medicine (CRM).


The voltage is 110 V, a US adapter is required.

Security / drugs

Current travel advice can also be found at

The use and contact with drugs should be avoided as the penalties for these offenses are high in Costa Rica as well. Addresses

In Germany:

Embassy of the Republic of Costa Rica

Dessauer Straße 28/29, 2nd floor


Honorary consulates in Hamburg, Hanover, Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig

In Costa Rica:

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

Apartado 4017-1000

San Jose, Costa Rica


Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In Germany

In Austria

In Switzerland

Frequently asked questions about Costa Rica

What are the entry requirements for Costa Rica?

German citizens can enter Costa Rica for tourist purposes for up to 90 days without a visa. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of entry. Visit smartercomputing for Costa Rica Travel Guide.

What vaccinations do you need to travel to Costa Rica?

No compulsory vaccinations are required for direct entry from Germany; proof of a valid yellow fever vaccination is required for entry from a yellow fever area. This applies to all travelers from the age of one. In addition, it is recommended to be vaccinated against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid for long-term stays. However, it is advisable to take out health insurance abroad with repatriation for emergencies.

Costa Rica Country Information

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