Costa Rica, or Republic of Costa Rica, an independent country in Central America. The name is Spanish for “Rich Coast.” Costa Rica lies between Panama and Nicaragua and faces both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. With an area of 19,575 square miles (50,700 km2), or about half that of Virginia, Costa Rica ranks after El Salvador as the smallest republic in Central America.

Facts in brief about Costa Rica
Capital: San Jose.
Official language: Spanish.
Official name: Republica de Costa Rica (Republic of Costa Rica).
Area: 19,730 mi2 (51,100 km2). Greatest distances—north-south, 220 mi (354 km); east-west, 237 mi (381 km). Coastline—380 mi (612 km) on the Pacific; 133 mi. (214 km) on the Caribbean.
Elevation: Highest—Chirripo Grande, 12,530 ft (3,819 m) above sea level. Lowest—sea level along the coasts.
Population: Current estimate—4,550,000; density, 231 per mi2 (89 per km2); distribution, 62 percent urban, 38 percent rural. 2000 census—3,810,179.
Chief products: Agriculture—bananas, beef cattle, cacao, coffee, corn, rice, sugar cane. Manufacturing—cement, clothing, computer chips, furniture, machinery, processed foods, textiles.
National anthem: "Noble Patria, Tu Hermosa Bandera" ("Noble Homeland, Your Beautiful Flag").
Flag and coat of arms: Costa Rica's state flag, used by the government, was adopted in 1848. It has horizontal stripes of blue, white, red, white, and blue (top to bottom) and a coat of arms in the center. The civil flag has no coat of arms. The coat of arms shows volcanoes, the Caribbean Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. Each star represents a province.
Money: Basic unit—Costa Rican colon.