Costa Rica
Country profile

Cosmetic surgery in Costa Rica - About the country

Costa Rica literally means 'rich coast' (so named by Columbus), and is one of the most bio-diverse countries on earth. When you think of Costa Rica tropical rainforests, misty waterfalls, stunning coastline and probably coffee will spring to mind (the coffee industry began in the eighteenth century in Costa Rica, and is the nation's major export).

The Republic of Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. With cascading waterfalls and deserted beaches, national parks and interesting colonial towns, the country offers a kaleidoscope of attractions for the tourist.

Costa Rica boasts a mild climate and a very varied landscape. From dry tropical forest along the Central Pacific Coast to the misty cloud forests of Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, medical tourists can enjoy tropical beaches and breathtaking natural beauty and take advantage of competitively priced private treatments in the country's top class private hospitals.

As well as agriculture, tourism is also one of its main sources of income, especially eco-tourism, and there are many Community Rural Tourism projects underway. Much of Costa Rica's land is heavily forested with almost a third of the country being protected. The country's national parks are a top attraction, and the Tortuguero National Park is a particular highlight, attracting many tourists to watch sea turtles nesting between July and October.

The country has many mountains and volcanoes and the coastline is surrounded by mangrove swamps and stunning white (or black) sand beaches. In the Caribbean part of Costa Rica there is a diversity of aquatic ecosystems while the Pacific coast is where you should head with your surf board - beaches like Esterillos, Jaco, Hermosa and Boca Barranca are super hot on the surfing circuit.

The capital city is San José, a bustling city with colonial neighbourhoods and a mish mash of modern and traditional architecture. Many different cultures have settled in Costa Rica, adding their unique essence, and Costa Rica gained its independence from Spain in 1821.

Priding itself on being a peaceful democracy Costa Rica is one of the few countries to operate without the assistance of a military force. In 1987 President Oscar Arias Sanchez made great headway in history and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for helping nearby countries find peaceful solutions to civil war.

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Quick facts

Population: 4.6 Million
Currency: Costa Rican colón
Capital: San José
Languages: Spanish, Mekatelyu, Bribri, Patois
Religions: Catholic 70%, Protestant 14%