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Costa Rica Geography

    Location: Middle America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama

    Geographic coordinates: 10 00 N, 84 00 W

    Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

    total: 51,100 sq km
    land: 50,660 sq km
    water: 440 sq km
    note: includes Isla del Coco

    Area—comparative: slightly smaller than West Virginia

    Land boundaries:
    total: 639 km
    border countries: Nicaragua 309 km, Panama 330 km

    Coastline: 1,290 km

    Maritime claims:
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    Climate: tropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November)

    Terrain: coastal plains separated by rugged mountains

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Cerro Chirripo 3,810 m

    Natural resources: hydropower

    Land use:
    arable land: 6%
    permanent crops: 5%
    permanent pastures: 46%
    forests and woodland: 31%
    other: 12% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 1,200 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season; active volcanoes

    Environment—current issues: deforestation, largely a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching; soil erosion

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)