Costa Rica Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Costa Rica: population, cities



According to Countryaah website, Costa Rica has around 4.8 million people.

Ethnic groups

About 94% of the population are descendants of European immigrants. There are also 3% blacks and mulattos (descendants of blacks and whites) as well as about 3% East Asians and a few Indians.

The 250,000 foreigners living in the country are mostly refugees of various origins, including from Nicaragua and EI Salvador.


Around 70% are Catholic, which means they belong to the state religion, and 15% are Protestants. There are also people who are not religiously bound and members of minority religions.

National languages The language of the country is Spanish.

Capital, other cities

The capital of Costa Rica is San José with a population of around 350,000, and around 2.2 million people live in the metropolitan area. According to Abbreviation Finder, CRI stands for Costa Rica in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.

Other cities are:

  • Alajuela with around 50,000 residents
  • Cartago with around 35,000 residents
  • Liberia with around 25,000 residents
  • Heredia with around 35,000 residents

Costa Rica: geography, map

Costa Rica covers an area of 51,100 km² and is roughly the size of Lower Saxony. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica shares a border with two states.

These are the limits to:

  • Nicaragua with a length of around 300 km, with the Río San Juán forming a large part of the border
  • Panamá with a length of also around 300 km.


Costa Rica’s coastline is around 1,234 km. In the east, the country borders the Caribbean Sea with a length of 212 km. In the west/southwest, a 1,022 km long coastal strip on the Pacific Sea forms the natural border of the territory.

Tidal range in Puerto Limon

In Puerto Limon the mean tidal range is around 2 m.

For detailed explanations of ebb and flow, see Tides, Ebb and Flow


The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 meters, and at spring tide even over 20 meters. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax.

On the German North Sea coast it varies between one and three meters. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 meters, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

Costa Rica extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from around 08 ° to 11 ° north latitude Δλ = from around 82 ° to 86 ° west longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.


For Costa Rica, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time without summer time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there and a plus sign that it is later than after CET:

Δ t (CET) = – 7 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in San José

San José is located at a north latitude of around φ = 10 °.

If the declination δ of the sun has the value of 10 ° N, and thus the image point of the sun is exactly above the city, the sun is perpendicular there. This happens exactly twice a year, roughly 39 days after March 21 and 39 days before September 21 (for details see position of the sun).


If the image point of the sun and thus the declination δ is north of the latitude of San José, the sun is not in the south at noon, as in our latitudes, but in the north. In this case, the sun moves from east to north to west, where, like us, it sets.



The highest mountain in the country is the Cerro Chirripó in the Cordillera de Talamanca with a height of 3,821 m.

The mountain is located in the national park of the same name “Parque Nacional Chirripó”, which is best reached from the village of San Gerardo de Rivas.

Tropical rainforests grow up to the tree line at an altitude of around 3,400 m. Typical here are evergreen oaks, epiphytes – plants that grow on other plants – tree ferns and the bamboo species of the genus Chusquea.

Here you can find the quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), a green-red-white colored bird up to 40 cm in size.

On a clear day, you can see both the Pacific and the Caribbean from the summit.

Other high mountains are:

  • Irazú volcano with a height of 3,432 m
  • Turrialba volcano with a height of 3,339 m.
  • Barva volcano with a height of 2,906 m
  • Poas volcano with a height of 2,704 m


Río Grande de Terraba

The longest river in the country is the Río Grande de Terraba with a length of 196 km.

Other rivers in the country are:

  • the Río San Carlos with a length of around 120 km
  • the Río Frío with a length of around 100 km
  • the Río Raventazón with a length of around 152 km



The largest lake in the country is the Arenalsee with an area of about 80 km², but it is artificially dammed.

Lake Coter

Another larger lake is Lake Coter with an area of only around 1 km².


The following islands are in front of the country or belong to the state elsewhere:

  • Isla de Coco with an area of 24 km²
  • Isla Chrira with a width of 10 km
  • Isla Caño with an area of 3 km²
  • Isla de los Pájaros with an area of 0.4 km²
  • Isla Bolaños with an area of 25 ha = 0.25 km² and other small archipelagos.

Pacific Ocean and Caribbean

The east coast of Costa Rica lies on the Caribbean and the west coast on the Atlantic.

Pacific Ocean (also Pacific, Pacific or Great Ocean)

Costa Rica is located on the Pacific Ocean, the largest and deepest ocean in the world. It stretches between the Arctic, North, Central and South America as well as the Antarctic, Australia, Oceania and Asia. It has a gigantic area of 166.24 million km² (not including secondary seas) and therefore covers around 35% of the entire surface of the earth. The ocean, which is larger than all continents combined, goes at its deepest point down to 11,034 meters below sea level.


The Caribbean is a marginal sea of the Atlantic and lies between the islands of the Caribbean and the American continent. In the west, Mexico and other Central American states border the Caribbean. In the south of Colombia and Venezuela. The border in the east and north form the following islands or archipelagos starting from Venezuela, the border to the “actual” Atlantic:

Trinidad and Tabago, Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Cuba. The shortest distance from Cuba to Key West/USA is around 165 km.

The deepest point in the Caribbean is the Cayman Rift between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands with a depth of 7,680 m. Together with the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean forms the “American Mediterranean”.

Costa Rica Population