Flag of the Week: Costa Rica

Author name
Danielle Ngo

Officially known as The Republic of Costa Rica, Costa Rica is a country in Central America whose name literally translates to “rich coast” from Spanish. Costa Rica is south of Nicaragua, northwest of Panama, and bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea to the west and east respectively. There are two main cultures in Costa Rica divided by their locations: the Ticos (Costa Ricans) are typically located on the coast near the Pacific Ocean whereas the individuals living in Limón, on the Caribbean coast, are English-speaking and live in Afro-Costa Rican communities. Costa Rica has a total area of 51,100 square kilometers and a population of 4.59 million. Costa Rica also comprises of several islands, with the two major ones being the Cocos Island and Isla Calero.


Although Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, numerous native languages are still recognized and spoken in indigenous reservations, such as the Bribri, Maléku, Cabécar and Ngäbere languages. The majority of individuals living in Limón speak English and around 10.7% of Costa Rica’s adult population speaks English, French, and Portuguese or German as a second language.

Costa Rica is one of the most stable, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America and permanently abolished its army in 1949. Costa Rica is especially progressive with its environmental policies and is the only country to meet all five of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) environmental sustainability criteria. In 2009, Costa Rica was identified as the greenest country in the world by the New Economics Foundation (NEF). Costa Rica became the first country in the Americas in 2012 to ban recreational hunting and plans to become a carbon-neutral country by 2021.

The beautiful scenery in Costa Rica can attest to its large support of environmental sustainability. Some of the most popular tourist destinations are the Arenal Volcano (featured in this post), the city of Monteverde, Manuel Antonio Beach, and Tamarindo Beach. Costa Rica also boasts a rich biodiversity and numerous exotic animals can be seen throughout the country and its national parks. Some colorful friends to look out for are the blue jeans poison dart frogs, blue-crowned motmots, and great green macaws.

Fun Fact: Costa Rica is a bit smaller than Lake Michigan! Costa Rica has an area of 51,100 square kilometers while Lake Michigan has a surface area of 58,030 square kilometers!