Size: 19,730 square miles, about twice the size of Vermont
Capital: San Jose (pop. 300,000)
Population: Four million.
Language: Spanish is the official language. English is spoken in main tourist areas.
Location: Central America between Nicaragua and Panama.
Currency: Colon (Floats, currently $1 US = about 240) in notes of 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100 and 50.
Religion: More than 60 percent of Costa Ricans are Roman Catholic with Protestants counting for 20% of the population.
NATIONAL PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
Jan 1: New Year's Day
Apr 11: Battle of Rivas / Juan Santamaria Day
In March 1856, the American adventurer William Walker, who had designs on all of Central America to make it part of a "Confederacy of Southern American States," invaded Costa Rica. He was met and successfully pushed back into Nicaragua by a people's army of 9,000 armed with farm tools and old rifles. The holiday commemorates the heroic sacrifice of one soldier in this battle, Juan Santamarķa, Costa Rica’s only war hero.
Holy Week: April 9-16, 2006
May 1: Labor Day
Jun: Corpus Christi (exact date varies)
Jul 25: Guanacaste Annexation
Celebrates the annexation of the province of Guanacaste from Nicaragua in 1824 with fiestas, folk dances, topes, cattle shows, bullfights, and concerts.
Aug 2: Virgin of Los Angeles
Honors Costa Rica's Patron Saint, "La Negrita" with nationwide pilgrimage and religious processions to the Basilica in Cartago.
Aug 15: Mother’s Day
Sep 15: Independence Day
Oct 12: Columbus Day
It embodies a celebration of all the peoples who constitute the base of the country's culture and recognizes the strong influence on present-day Costa Rican culture by the Indians, Europeans, Africans and Asians who have settled and lived here throughout history.
Nov 2: All Soul’s Day
Primarily a religious celebration (similar to Memorial Day) the day of the dead is observed with family visits to cemeteries to place flowers on loved ones' graves.