Essential Info for Costa Rica
Population: Around 5 million
Capital city: San José
Neighbouring countries: Nicaragua and Panama
Geography: Costa Rica lies on the Central American Isthmus, the narrow strip of land between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea which links North and South America. Bordered by Nicaragua in the north and Panama in the south, it also has a number of islands in the surrounding waters. The landscape is comprised of peaks and volcanos, as well as lower plains and forests.
Political system: Presidential republic
Major religion: Christian
Main language: Spanish
Money: The Costa Rican Colón (CRC) is divided into 100 centimos. ATMs and card facilities can be found in all major urban centres.
Tipping: Most places add a 10 percent service charge to their bill, but extra tipping for excellent service is appreciated.
Electricity: 120V, 60Hz. Flat two-pin plugs and three-pin (two flat blades with a round grounding pin) plugs are used.
Internet domain: .cr
International dialling code: +506
Emergency contact: 911 (general), 117 (police), 118 (fire), 128 (ambulance)
Transport and driving: Drive on the right-hand side. Public buses are comfortable, usually punctual and are the cheapest way to travel. Taxis are more expensive but more flexible than bus travel. Foreigners can drive with a valid licence and visa until the visa expires. Obtaining a permanent licence is more involved, requiring several tests and official procedures.