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Costa Rica Geography Profile 2017

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LocationCentral America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama
Geographic coordinates10 00 N, 84 00 W
Map referencesCentral America and the Caribbean
Areatotal: 51,100 sq km
land: 51,060 sq km
water: 40 sq km
note: includes Isla del Coco
Area - comparativeslightly smaller than West Virginia
Land boundariestotal: 661 km
border countries (2): Nicaragua 313 km, Panama 348 km
Coastline1,290 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climatetropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands
Terraincoastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major active volcanoes
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 746 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Chirripo 3,810 m
Natural resourceshydropower
Land useagricultural land: 37.1%
arable land 4.9%; permanent crops 6.7%; permanent pasture 25.5%
forest: 51.5%
other: 11.4% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land1,015 sq km (2012)
Population distributionroughly half of the nation's population resides in urban areas; the capital of San Jose is the largest city and home to approximately one-fifth of the population
Natural hazardsoccasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season and landslides; active volcanoes
volcanism: Arenal (elev. 1,670 m), which erupted in 2010, is the most active volcano in Costa Rica; a 1968 eruption destroyed the town of Tabacon; Irazu (elev. 3,432 m), situated just east of San Jose, has the potential to spew ash over the capital city as it did between 1963 and 1965; other historically active volcanoes include Miravalles, Poas, Rincon de la Vieja, and Turrialba
Environment - current issuesdeforestation and land use change, largely a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching and agriculture; soil erosion; coastal marine pollution; fisheries protection; solid waste management; air pollution
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - notefour volcanoes, two of them active, rise near the capital of San Jose in the center of the country; one of the volcanoes, Irazu, erupted destructively in 1963-65

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017

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