The Republic of Costa Rica is a Central American country with an area of 51,100 km², bordered by the Republic of Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, the Republic of Panama to the south-east and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. The official language is Spanish and, according to the official data from the most recent census carried out in 2011, its population is 4,300,712.
Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces: San Jose (which includes the capital of the same name), Cartago, Heredia, Alajuela, Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Limon. In turn, these seven provinces are divided into 81 cantons and 415 districts.
Under the terms of its constitution, enacted in 1949 and still in force today, Costa Rica is a free and independent democratic republic with power divided among its Executive, Legislative and Judicial bodies.
Its location between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn lends it a climate typical of the tropical region, where sun in the morning and rain later in the day is the norm during most of the year. Thanks to these climatic features, Costa Rica boasts lush forests, tropical jungles and a rich variety of flora and fauna.
The country has a lot of mountainous terrain, with the majority of the surface area between 900 and 1,800m above sea level. However, it also features a large plateaued central valley that is very fertile and rich in water sources. Due to its geographical position, Costa Rica is part of the Pacific’s Ring of Fire and has 112 volcanoes within its territories, five of which are active.
Furthermore, boasting as it does 1,228 kilometres of coastline, Costa Rica has a large number of beaches both on its Pacific and Atlantic coasts, as well as stunning islands near its coast.
The country’s economy, which has traditionally been based on agriculture, is evolving into a service-based one. And while income from agricultural exports, through products such as bananas, sugar, pineapples, cocoa and, above all, its famous coffee, remain a vital source of national revenues, since 2000 the tourist industry has generated more income than any of the country’s agricultural products.
Indeed, Costa Rica has become a very attractive holiday destination thanks to its diversity, natural wonders and pleasant climate, as well as the quality of its services and its people’s welcoming and friendly nature.
Football in Costa Rica
The beautiful game is Costa Rica’s most played and most followed sport, with fans in the country able to enjoy a 12-team national top flight. The country’s leading clubs are fierce rivals Deportivo Saprissa and Liga Deportiva Alajuelense.
The Costa Rican senior men’s national team have, to date, taken part in the finals of three FIFA World Cups™: Italy 1990, Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006. Though they fell at the group stage at the latter two editions, on Italian soil Los Ticos reached the Round of 16 before exiting 4-1 at the hands of the former Czechoslovakia.
The women’s football scene in Costa Rica is also improving and becoming more established with each passing year. To date, Tica national squads have qualified for two FIFA tournaments: the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup New Zealand 2008 and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010. And though both campaigns ended after three group-stage defeats, work is continuing apace to ensure that as hosts they are in a position to bid for glory at the global U-17 showpiece in 2014.