Geographical position
Mountain ranges
Educational system
Health care

Geographical position

Geographical position

Costa Rica is situated in the southern part of Central America. Its perfect position is defined by its geographical co-ordinates: 8 and 11` North latitude and 81 35` and 85 40` West longitude. It`s bordered to the North by Nicaragua (309 kilometres), the South-East by Panama (330 kilometres), East by Carribbean Sea, and West by Pacific Ocean. Entirely longitude of borders is 1290 km.


The surface of Costa Rica is 51.100 km and that`s the third smallest country in Central America after Belize and El Salvador. In regards of surface, it`s on 20th position in Latin America.

Geologic and tectonic

Geologically, the surface of Costa Rica is 3 millions years (very young for geological standards). The exception is Nicoya Peninsula which is many millions of the years older. The rocks that form much of the Santa Elena peninsula in the extreme western sector of the Santa Rosa National Park are among the oldest in Costa Rica dating back to the Cretaceous period, some 130 million years ago. Around 40 millions years ago, Costa Rica and the rest of Central America was a submarine volcanic archipelago. The first peaks have emerged due to the volcanic activity.

The covering of gold was proved within the Bay of Dulce (Point of Burica, Osa Peninsula). (In the last one there is a problem with illegal gold miners). The manganese ores are spot in the vicinity of Point of Velas (the western Costa Rica) and in the tip of Nicoya peninsula. The sulphur is recorded within the volcanoes. The coal layers were discovered around Bay of Santa Elena, at the outlet of Tempsique river, Points of Mona and Cahuita on Caribbean Coast and in the Cruces Hills (South-East Costa Rica). The lead and zinc ores are spread in Meseta Central (to the South of Alajuela and Heredia). In 1970 there were student protests against the agreement with USA to extract bauxities.

Meseta Central

Extensive plateau in the central part of country, sqeezed between Cordillera Central and Cordillera Talamanca. It rises to 1150 m.a.s.l. It measures about 40 km north to south, 80 km east to west. It`s divided into two separate valleys by the low-lying crests of La Carpintera Mountains. This is the most important and developed region of Costa Rica. The valley is the center of Costa Rican government, industry, agriculture, commerce, and financal activities. In its limits there are three capitals of provinces: San Jose, Alajuela and Heredia. It`s populated by 60 % of all Costa Rica`s population. From south-west side it`s delimits by Cartago Highland (1.400 m.a.s.l.).

Because of its fertile volcanic soil, ideal for coffee and other agriculture products, it`s called the "granary of Costa Rica".


The longitude of Carribbean coast is 212 kilometres, and pacific coast of 1016 kilometres. The latter is jagged, rocky with big numbers of bays and three peninsulas (Nicoya, Santa Elena and Osa). Its northern parts are dominated by cliffs. The Carribbean coast is on considerable part undeveloped. It has wider coastal lowlands than its pacific equivalent.

North carribbean coast is called Tortuguero, and south one - Talamanca. (The limitation runs near port town Limon). Tortuguero Coast is separated from the sea by a series of freshwater lagoons. Talamanca Coast is broken by occasional headlands and coral reefs and backed by looming Cordillera Central.

In Costa Rica are found some of the most beautiful and idyllic beaches on the planet. In pacific side of the country there are more beaches devided by capes. According to the colour and type of the ground, there are the following types of beaches: grey (Tamarindo), white, black, shelled (Conchal) and pink.

2004; SLUPSK; Rafal Cezary Piechocinski