During his fourth and last voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus reached our Caribbean coast in late 1,502 and discovered this beautiful land. Impressed by its natural beauty and motivated by ideas of incredible Indian gold treasures, he named this lovely new land "Costa Rica" (Rich Coast).
Indeed, Columbus was right about this new God-gifted rich land. However, its richness does not derive from gold, but certainly from its incredible jewels of Nature. Our natural treasures include green plains and valleys, high mountain ranges, impressive volcanoes, beautiful Pacific Ocean, fabulous Caribbean Sea, pristine sandy beaches, wonderful coral reefs, dense tropical jungles, mystic cloud forests, marvelous rain forests, amazing waterfalls, gorgeous rivers and lakes, peninsulas and bays, islands and islets; all of them featuring abundant, lush vegetation and exotic wildlife.
THE COUNTRY: Costa Rica is a beautiful tropical country located on the Central American isthmus between 08º2'26" and 11º13'12" North Latitude and 82º33'48" and 85º57'57" West Longitude. Its territory covers a surface of 51,100 km² (19,739 square miles). The population is almost five million citizens. Approximately 30% of the national territory is protected by the government and private organizations. These Protected Areas include: National Parks, Biological Reserves, Wildlife Refuges, Indian Reserves, Forest Reserves, National Monuments and Private Ecological Preserves.
THE CLIMATE: Costa Rica presents a wide variety of altitudes and temperatures. The territory rises from sea level along the coastlines to 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in the Central Valley, up to 1,500 m (5,000 ft) on the Central Mountain Range and over 3,000 m (9,800 ft) on the high mountain ranges. The highest point in Costa Rica is Mount Chirripó at 3,820 m (12,534 ft). Therefore, this country does not have just a simple and defined climate, but a large number of micro-climates.
There are only two well-defined seasons in Costa Rica: the rainy season and the dry season. Costa Rica's lovely "summer" or dry season is mainly from December to May and the rainy or "green" season is basically from May to November.
POLITICAL DIVISION: Costa Rica is administratively divided into seven (7) Provincias: San José (Capital of the country), Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Guanacaste, Puntarenas, and Limón. Each Province is divided into several Cantones and each Cantón is comprised by several Distritos.