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Costa Rica General Information

Official Name:

Republic of Costa Rica


51.000 km²

Geopolitical Structure:

7 provinces


San José


Costa Rican colon


The official language is Spanish. English is fairly widely spoken, and some French, German and Italian is heard.


Costa Rican National Symbols

The national flag: Consists of five horizontal bands. The blue band symbolizes the blue sky that covers Costa Rica like a protective blanket.
The white stands for the peace that characterizes the country as well as the purity of its ideals. Finally, the red band represents the energy, the courage and the generosity with which the Costa Ricans stand up for their principles and ideals.

The national coat of arms:  It shows three volcanoes representing the country's three mountain ranges and a valley. These divide two oceans where ships are sailing, symbolizing the sea ports of the Pacific and the Caribbean Ocean. The seven stars stand for the seven provinces of Costa Rica, and the rising sun commemorizes the birth of the new nation. At the top of the coat of arms there is an inscription saying: "Central America"!


The national flower: In Costa Rica, cattleya skinneri is one of the most common orchids. When in 1937 a vote was organized to choose the national flower of Costa Rica, nobody was surprised that cattleya skinneri was the winner. Not only scholars and horticulturists participated in the vote, but also secondary school and university students.

National bird: The so called Yigüirro (clay-colored robin) was declared national bird of Costa Rica on January 3rd, 1977, as a tribute to its powerful and melodious call that signals the beginning of the rainyseason.This bird was chosen especially because it is so familiar to Costa Ricans as it tends to live near people's homes.

National Tree: On August 31, 1959, the Guanacaste tree (enterolobium ciclocarpum) was declared the national tree of Costa Rica. It was chosen as a tribute to the people of Guanacaste, which was the last province to join the Republic in 1825. With the giant shade it provides, this tree symbolizes the protection that Costa Ricans enjoy from the State. The name "Guanacaste" originates from a native language called "náhuatl" and means "tree of the ears". This is because the fruits of the tree are similar to the shape ofthe human ear.


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