Geographical position
Mountain ranges
Educational system
Health care


Costa Rica (according to dates from 2000) had 3.810.179 inhabitants. (122 th place among 193 countries of the world). On February 24th, in Limon was born Arnoldo Josua Soto - 4 million Tico.

Density of populations: 68,7 persons/km.

Birth-rate: 2,04 %

People by sex:

  • Women: 1.736.477. (49 % of population)

  • Men: 1.774.160. (51 % of population)

Distribution of inhabitants:

towns 49,30 %

villages 50,70 %

36 % of population lives in Meseta Central.

Ethnic dates

Costa Rica is the most racial homogenous country in Latin America. 87 % of its population is white, which is an evenement in region. Next 7 % belongs to Mestizo, 3 % to mulatto and Blacks, 2 % to Asians, and 1 % to the rest.


Indians are only 1,7 % of Costa Rica population (according to the recent census the true figure is 63,800). Of the total, 51.5 percent of them are males and 48.5 females, while the ages of 55.2 percent of them range from 15 to 64. A majority of them, 79 percent, live in rural areas. 8 different Indian groups live on 22 Indian reserves. In 1939 the government granted 148 ha to each Indian families. In December 1977 a law passed prohibiting non-Americans from buying, leasing or renting land within the reserves. According to the law, Indians can organize there the local governments, but under the control of Costa Rica government.

The CONAI is the official institution for handling Indian affairs. In 1991 the first indigenous bank was established in the Talamanca region with the financial help of the Interamerican Development Bank.

When the Spaniards came, they didn't encounter the great native empires that they did in Mexico or in Peru. Instead, they found several tribes that were fragmentary and culturally diverse. That`s why Spanish didn't make many strong efforts to colonize the country. During colonization the most of Indians escaped and have taken refuge in nearby Cordillera Talamanca. The rest were harassed by conquistadores or were killed by the deseases brought from Europe. In the years 1511 - 1517, many of them were caught and sent as a slaves to Cuba. In the following years was introduced so called "repartimientos system". According to that all men between 6 and 60 years old, had to work one week a month for religious and municipal institutions.

Chorotegas - Descendants of Mexican Aztecs who in XV century settled in Nicoya peninsula and Tempsigue Lowland. The name of Chorotega means "the fleeing people". In precolumbian period they were the most advanced Indian tribe in Costa Rica. Their towns were distinguished with the central squares. They had the advanced agricultural system based on beans, corn and pumpkins. They used the calendar and could write on the deers` skin. They made the ceramic and jades ornaments (their forms had the influences of Nahuatl civilization). Their stone "matates" are presented in National Museum. They were devided into three classes (the lowest belongs to slaves and prisoners of war). They were noted for being lovers of music (they used oboes and quijongos - the last one is 1-stringed with resonatore). Now they are easiest visible in Guaitil village, where they make in old traditional ways the clay pots.

Bri-Bri - (7.000 Indians). The biggest Indian tribe in Costa Rica. They live in four reserves in the valleys of Cordillera Talamanca and in the caribbean border terrains with Panama. They are rather open for the civilization and believe in God of Sibu. Their shamans cure by the herbs brought from the rainforests. The jungle gives them the food and is a sourse for the building materials. They cultivate corn and cocoa and are noted for handicrafts and carvings. In Bri-Bri Kekoldi reserve are bred the green Iguanas. In Suretka is placed the Educational Center "Namsol". In 2002 a group of european ecological group offered 100 mln $ for developing that land in exchange of making craft and organic farming creating products to be sold internationally under The Global Country Label. But they were finally exhiled from the country.

Borucas - (3.000 Indians). They live in southern-pacific slopes of Cordillera Talamanca and the Terraba river delta. They are very separated from the outside world (they care very much for the traditional language). They are destinguished with the matriarchate. Their women took parts in the battles and were noted for their cruelty (that`s why were called the Costa Rican Amazonas). They live together in coned huts (up to 100 Indians). In the colonial times, they set up the fortress-like settlements. They live on making the weaven baskets and handicrafts for tourists. Men are on the habit of making the wooden masks from Balsa. Their ancestors were responsibled for making the misterious granite balls and for making the golden ornaments. In Buenos Aires reserve there is the museum devoted for them. In the vicinity of their reserve is planned the hydroenergy project. Indians are afraid of overflooded the crops and that`s why, on October 12th of 2001, they blocked the Panamerican Highway.

Guaymi - (55.000 Indians). They live in four reserves in Coto Brus valley and in Osa Peninsula. Their favourite drink is cocoa. They come to Costa Rica in 1940`s from Panama. Their style of life is similar even to Amazonia Indians. They didn`t accept the civilization. Women wear traditional, light dresses and are on the habit of painting the faces for any ceremonies. They make the clothes and use the natural fibers. They make the masks from Balsa trees. In 1995 in Coto Brus reserve was held the first for 60 years, the ceremony of coronation the cacique.

Cabecar - They live in hidden valleys of Cordillera Talamanca. They are partly opened for the outside world. In 1993 within their reserves, the Canadian Mining Company "Oceania" got the license for mining the gold and copper. Their favourite drink is cocoa. They live in separate houses, very close to each other. They cultivate beans and corns. The vital role in that tribe play shamans. In families matriarchate dominates.

Guatuso - (500 Indians). They live in Guatuso lowlands. They were noted for making the stone and jade carvings and cultivate rise and beans. They pay attention on preserving their traditional Maleku language. They used to wear the traditional tuna (loincloth made of cured tree bark). In Precolumbian times they kept in touch with tribes from today`s Nicaragua by the net of the rivers.

Huetares - (900 Indians). They live in two reserves in Meseta Central (Quitirisi and Zapaton) - the most deforested areas of the San Jose province. They are destinguished by the Antillan culture influences. They were noted for making the ceremonial altars, stone carvings, ceramic and golden ornaments. They sold their goods on the way from Ciudad Colon to Puriscal. They breed the cattle, pigs and poultry. They have lost their own language. They often use the prisoners of the war as sacrifices.

Terrabas - They live in Terraba river delta. Till today they preserved only 10 % of their prior territory, because the rest they sold for Del Monte banana company. They integrate with the rest of Costa Rica population by setting the repair shops. They plant the forests and cure by traditional methods. They are noted for making the ceramic. In 1522 they graciously hosted a conquistador Gil Gonzalez Davila. In 1649 the Franciscans stuck them under the one name with Borucas. In Buenos Aires there is the museum devoted for them.


Today it`s the second nation`s largest minority (3 % of population). The first blacks that arrived to Costa Rica came with the Spanish conquistadors. They were brought because of lack Indians labor forces. They came from Equatorial and West Africa, because the people from these areas were thought of as ideal slaves because they had a reputation for being the most robust, affable and hard-working. In XVII century they lived and worked in cacao plantations in Matina (Limon province) isolated from the rest of the country. Later their isolation was gradually dissapearing. When white man lived with black woman, their children become automaticly free. The finally collapse of slavery happened in April 17th of 1824. In 1871, when started construction of Costa Rica`s railroad, many Blacks were employed for clearing the forest and building the railroad tracks. Then from carribbean islands (mainly from Jamaica), come to Costa Rica a new wave of Blacks wanted to work. Later they were also employed in banana plantations of United Fruit Company.

In 20`s of XX century they still didn't possess legal rights to own land. They only rented pieces of lands. In the 1930's many white Ticos moved into Limon province (which had the biggest concentration of Black in the country), and took over the land of these blacks. Many blacks had to migrate to Panama or other countries when they were dispossessed of their land or even of their job at the banana company. Only after civil war in 1948, the governing junta with Jose Figuerres Ferrer in the forefront, gave to Blacks full civic and voting rights. That was a motion of appreciasion for their participation in 1948 fights. The presidential ellections of 1998 was the first in country history to have first black candidate to run.

On every year on August 31, the International Black People`s Day with lectures, discussions, displays of black culture is celebrated.


The first large (1000) wave of Chineas immigrants come to Costa Rica in 1873. They were being employed on building of atlantic railway (especially on the stretch of Angostura-Cartago). Later they were servants, and finally started managing of small food shops. Today, "chinos" are managing bars, hotels and restaurances. They even say, that in San Jose there are much more chineas restaurances than in Beijing !

Social classes

Costa Rica is destinquished by homogenous social class. Decided majority of population belongs to the middle class.


Costa Ricans are considered in Latin America as very friendly and hospitables. There is a persuasion that when any tourist will ask Tico about the way, that will not only informe him, but even take him to his destination. Besides Ticos stand out of their liking for peace and civilization form of life. Through many years they have been creating a country, which now is considered as the model of democracy and stability in world. There is no place for civil wars, coups d`etats, and riots. There are no political shakes. Someone told that in history of that country there were less smell of powder than in history of any other country. Ticos are also known because of their unpunctuality and lack of firmness in making decisions.

In Latin America Costa Ricans are called in soft words Ticos. It has something to do with their tendency to employing diminutive of words (in spanish diminutives often has endings -ico).


When in 1997, in USA were introduced the drastic immigration laws (that caused the mass transportations of refuges), thousands of Nicaraguans refuges started to settle in Costa Rica. It`s estimated that in whole country work illegally from 250 to 500 thousands of Nicas. According to some resources, on every month 500 Nicas crossed illegally the border. They are engaged as servants or in coffee and sugar cane plantations. In 2000 Costa Rican police caught 46.000 Nicas on the border and exhiled 1.000 of them from the country.

2004; SLUPSK; Rafal Cezary Piechocinski