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Costa Rica is a rugged, rainforested Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. Though its capital, San Jose, is home to cultural institutions like the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife including spider monkeys and quetzal birds.
See the fact file below for more information on the Costa Rica or alternatively, you can download our 31-page Costa Rica worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Did you know…
- Costa Rica was the first country in the world to constitutionally abolish its army.
- It is also the only country in which both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans can be seen from the same point.
- Costa Ricans are called ticos, which derives from their appending the Spanish-ico diminutive to the standard-ito.
- Columbus skirted the Costa Rican coast in 1502. Resistance by the indigenous inhabitants and disease prevented the Spanish from establishing a permanent settlement until 1563, when Cartago was founded.
- The region was administered as part of the captaincy general of Guatemala.
- From Cartago, westward expansion into the plateau began in the 18th century.
- Costa Rica became independent from Spain in 1821.
- From 1822 to 1823, it was part of the Mexican Empire of Augustín de Iturbide.
- It then became part of the Central American Federation until 1838 when the sovereign republic of Costa Rica was proclaimed.
- In 1857, Costa Rican troops joined Nicaraguans and Hondurans to defeat William Walker’s pro-slavery filibusters.
- After 1869, Costa Rica established a democratic government. Costa Rica has avoided much of the violence that has plagued Central America.
- Since the late nineteenth century, only two brief periods of violence have marred its republican development. In 1917–19, Federico Tinoco Granados ruled as a dictator.
- In 1948, José Figueres Ferrer led an armed uprising in the wake of a disputed presidential election.
- Figueres became a national hero, winning the first election under the new constitution in 1953. Since then, Costa Rica has been one of the few democracies to operate without a standing army.
- The nation has held 16 successive presidential elections, all peaceful, the latest being in 2018.
- The national flag was created on November 27, 1906 along with the National Coat of Arms.
- The flag consists of blue horizontal stripes on the top and bottom of the flag and two white inner stripes divided by a wide red stripe, which contains the National Coat of Arms on the left side.
- The tradition establishes that the conception and design of the current flag, corresponded to Doña Pacífica Fernández Oreamuno, wife of the first president of Costa Rica; José María Castro Madriz, inspired by the flag of France.
GEOGRAPHY, CLIMATE AND BIODIVERSITY
- Costa Rica has a varied topography with coastal plains that are separated by volcanic mountain ranges. There are three mountain ranges running throughout the country. The first of these is the Cordillera de Guanacaste and runs to the Cordillera Central from the northern border with Nicaragua. The Cordillera Central runs between the central part of the country and the southern Cordillera de Talamanca which bounds the Meseta Central (Central Valley) near San José. Most of Costa Rica’s coffee is produced in this region.
- The climate of Costa Rica is tropical and has a wet season that lasts from May to November. San Jose, which is located in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, has an average July high temperature of 82°F (28°C) and an average January low of 59°F (15°C).
- The coastal lowlands of Costa Rica are incredibly biodiverse and feature many different types of plants and wildlife. Both coasts feature mangrove swamps and the Gulf of Mexico side is heavily forested with tropical rainforests. Costa Rica also has several large national parks to protect its plethora of flora and fauna. Some of these parks include the Corcovado National Park (home to large cats such as jaguars and smaller animals like Costa Rican monkeys), Tortuguero National Park, and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
ECONOMICS AND LAND USE
- Costa Rica is considered one of the most economically prosperous countries in Central America and a major part of its economy comes from its agricultural exports.
- Costa Rica is well-known as a coffee producing region and pineapples, bananas, sugar, beef, and ornamental plants also contribute to its economy.
- The country is also growing industrially and produces goods such as medical equipment, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products, and high-value goods such as microprocessors.
- Ecotourism and the related service sector is also a significant part of Costa Rica’s economy because the country is highly biodiverse.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
- Costa Rica’s population is 4.9 million, with 60 percent living in the Central Valley in and around Cartago, San José, Heredia, and Alajuela.
- 32% of the population is 14 years old or under, while 5% is 65 or older. Annual population growth is 2.03%.
- Life expectancy in Costa Rica is 76.8 years .
- The official currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colón.
- Pura vida! Pure life – You’ll hear the expression frequently throughout Costa Rica, as a sincere wish for your time in this natural wonderland. It’s a valediction, an affirmation and a state of mind, reflecting an appreciation for the awesomeness of nature and our role in it.
- Spanish is the official language, but the variant spoken has features particular to Costa Rica. On the Atlantic coast, however, descendants of Caribbean immigrants speak English, as do many others throughout the country who learned it to better their employment prospects.
- Costa Rica’s ethnic breakdown is 94% European and mixed native-European, 3% African, 1% native, and 1% Chinese.
- About 75% of the people are Roman Catholics; there is a large Protestant minority.
- The main religious events are: Easter Week or Semana Santa, Christmas Week, and August 2nd, which is the celebration of the Virgin of the Angels.
- One tradition that is ingrained in Ticos is that they are especially friendly and hospitable towards foreigners and often invite them to family gatherings or celebrations.
- Food: Most traditional dishes in Costa Rica consist of rice and beans with other ingredients like chicken or fish and different sorts of vegetables.
- Common breakfast is Gallo Pinto which consists of rice mixed with black beans, served with natilla (sour cream), eggs (scrambled), and fried plantain. Costa Ricans usually drink a cup of coffee or fresh fruit juice with it.
- Other traditional dishes: casados, fried plantain, tamales, pozol, chorreadas, and sopa negra.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
- Costa Rica is a republic with a single legislative body made up of its Legislative Assembly whose members are elected by popular vote.
- The judicial branch of government in Costa Rica is comprised only of a Supreme Court.
- Costa Rica’s executive branch has a chief of state and head of government – both of which are filled by the president who is elected by popular vote.
- Last presidential elections were held in 2018, and won by Carlos Alvarado Quesada, with a landslide victory of 60.6% of the vote (at a second round run-off election).
Costa Rica Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Costa Rica across 31 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Costa Rica worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Costa Rica which is a rugged, rainforested Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. Though its capital, San Jose, is home to cultural institutions like the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife including spider monkeys and quetzal birds.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Costa Rica facts
- Colors Mean
- Doing some tourism I
- Doing some tourism II
- Basic Info
- True or False?
- Multiple choice
- Alphabet Soup
- Write three…
- Find the missing
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Link will appear as Costa Rica Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 25, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.