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Republic of Costa Rica

A center of biological diversity!

Costa Rica
Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica (Spanish: Costa Rica or República de Costa Rica) is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the east and south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and south and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

Historians have classified the indigenous people of Costa Rica as belonging to the Intermediate Area, where the peripheries of the Mesoamerican and Andean native cultures overlapped.

Like the rest of Central America, Costa Rica never fought for independence from Spain. On September 15, 1821, after the final Spanish defeat in the Mexican War of Independence (1810–1821), the authorities in Guatemala declared the independence of all of Central America. That date is still celebrated as Independence Day in Costa Rica, even though, technically, under the Spanish Constitution of 1812 that had been readopted in 1820, Nicaragua and Costa Rica had become an autonomous province with its capital in León. In 1838, long after the Federal Republic of Central America ceased to function in practice, Costa Rica formally withdrew and proclaimed itself sovereign.

Presidencia de la República de Costa Rica
Presidency of the Republic of Costa Rica
Gobierno Fácil Gobierno de Costa Rica
Welcome (as) the Costa Rican Government Portal, check here for all links public institutions of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is composed of seven provinces, which in turn are divided into 81 cantons (Spanish: cantón, plural cantones), each of which is directed by a mayor. Mayors are chosen democratically every four years by each canton’s people. There are no provincial legislatures. The cantons are further divided into 421 districts (distritos). The provinces are:

1. Alajuela
It is located in the north-central part of the country, bordering Nicaragua to the north, and clockwise the provinces Heredia, San José, Puntarenas and Guanacaste.
2. Cartago
Cartago (which means Carthage is located in the central part of the country. Bordering provinces are Limón to the east and San José to the west.
3. Guanacaste
The province is named for the guanacaste tree, also known as the ear pod tree which is the national tree of Costa Rica. To the north it borders Nicaragua. To the east is the Alajuela Province, and to the southeast is the Puntarenas Province.
4. Heredia
Heredia is located in the north-central part of the country. As a result, the province covers areas as diverse as the agriculture rich Northern plains of San Carlos as well as the more metropolitan areas like the city of Heredia located in the Central Valley.
5. Limón
Limón is situated in the country’s Caribbean lowlands, though the southwestern portion houses part of an extensive mountain range known as the Cordillera de Talamanca. The province shares its northern border with Nicaragua via the Río San Juan, its western borders with the provinces of Heredia, Cartago, and Puntarenas, and its southern border with Panama via the Río Sixaola.
6. Puntarenas
Puntarenas is located in the western part of the country, covering most of Costa Rica’s Pacific Ocean coast, and it is the largest province in Costa Rica. Clockwise from the northwest it borders on the provinces Guanacaste, Alajuela, San José and Limón, and the neighbouring country of Panama.
7. San José
San José is located in the central part of the country, and borders (clockwise beginning in the north) the provinces of Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago, Limón and Puntarenas.

Other places and informational links for Costa Rica:

Home to a rich variety of plants and animals, Costa Rica is a center of biological diversity for reptiles and amphibians, including the world’s fastest running lizard, the spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis). It contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Around 25% of the country’s land area is in protected national parks and areas.

The Corcovado National Park, is internationally renowned among ecologists for its biodiversity (including big cats and tapirs) and is where visitors can expect to see an abundance of wildlife.

Tortuguero National Park (can be translated as “Full of Turtles”) is home to spider, howler and white-throated capuchin monkeys; the three-toed sloth and two-toed sloth; 320 species of birds; and a variety of reptiles. The park is recognized for the annual nesting of the endangered green turtle, and is the most important nesting site for the species. Giant leatherback, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles also nest there.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is home to about 2,000 plant species, including numerous orchids. Over 400 types of birds and more than 100 species of mammals can be found there.

Travel:

Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO) is located close to the cities Alajuela, Heredia and the capital San José. Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) is near Liberia in the Guanacaste province. Tobías Bolaños International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Tobías Bolaños) (IATA: SYQ, ICAO: MRPV) i(LIR) is in the Pavas district of San José about a 10-15 minute drive from the city center. Most visitors can get into Costa Rica without the need of a Visa and can stay in the country for 90 days.

The Interamericana (Pan-American Highway) runs through Costa Rica and is the main entry point by car. There are bus services from the neighboring countries of Panamá, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala.

There is twice daily boat service from Los Chiles (in NE Costa Rica), former home of the Contras, to San Carlos, Nicaragua. Small ship cruises carrying less than 100 passengers begin in Panama and end in Costa Rica or reverse. These cruises visit popular National Parks such as Manuel Antonio but also visit remote beaches and coastline not accessible by road. Larger cruise ships occasionally dock or anchor at Porto Caldera and Puntarenas for a day or so, usually to begin, end or continue cruises with itineraries through the Panama Canal to or from Caribbean or U.S. ports.

Directions by City or Zip (Postcode)

  You’ll probably need maps, directions or both at some point in your travels. Just type the starting place in the first box, the ending destination in the second box and click “Go”. As an example, you could enter your home address as the starting point and the address of the place you are to stay at as the destination.



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