Costa Rica, the third smallest Central American country and the oldest democracy in Latin America, is one of the most popular locations for a Spanish course. No other country in Latin America offers such an abundance of natural beauty and of flora and fauna in such a small area.
27% of the land is protected as a nature reserve. It is always just a short distance to picturesque beaches on the Pacific or Caribbean coast, which often blend directly into national parks, such as in Manuel Antonio or in Cahuita. Over 1200 kilometers of beaches entice you to swim, surf, scuba dive, and relax. The cool, high mountain region is easily accessible. You can go all the way to the rim of active volcanoes such as Irazú or Poás, or you can visit Arenal, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
Spectacular waterfalls, rain forests, cloud forests, mountain streams, and high mountain paths invite you to hike, mountain bike, fish, or go river rafting. Costa Rica enjoys the reputation of being the “Switzerland of Latin America”. The people here speak clearly enunciated Spanish, which makes Costa Rica the ideal place for a Spanish course – and for an unforgettable experience with nature.
- Official language: Spanish
- Capital city: San José
- President: Luis Guillermo Solís
- Area: 51.100 km²
- Coastline: 1.290 km
- Population: 4.889.826 inhabitants as of 2014
- Gross Domestic Product: $38 billion per year
- Per capita income: $9.490 per year
- Independence day (from Spain): September 15, 1821
- Currency: colón CRC
- Exchange rate: $1= around 540 colones
- Country phone code: 506
Costa Rica, which means “Rich Coast”, constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949. It is the only Latin American country included in the list of the world’s 22 older democracies.
Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index, ranked 62nd in the world in 2010, and is cited by the UNDP as one of the countries that have attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels.
The country is ranked third in the world, and first among the Americas, in terms of the 2010 Environmental Performance Index.
In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021. According to the New Economics Foundation, Costa Rica ranks first in the Happy Planet Index and is the “greenest” country in the world.