Capital: San Jose
Area: 51.100 sq km
Climate: tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands
Population: 4.516 million (2010 est.)
Languages: Spanish, with a southwestern Caribbean Creole dialect of English spoken around the Limon area.
Government type: democratic republic
Independence Day: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Currency: Costa Rica Colon (CRC).
Other major cities: Puntarenas, Limon, and Liberia
Unemployment (2010 est.): 6.7%.
GDP: $38.27 billion (2010 est)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $11,400 (2010 est.)
Information for Foreign Students in Costa Rica
Visa application for a temporary student visa (one year or less)
Temporary permits are extended to foreign students, registered in public or private education centres recognized by the State, for the lengh of specific academic periods (this student permit can be renewed each year). This permit does not allow students to work. The application should be done at the Costa Rican Immigration Department.
The average price of hotels or cabinas is relatively high compared to the standard of living, as it costs between 50 and 80 euros per night. The lodge is a type of accommodation widely used in Costa Rica. It has a rustic charm, in direct contact with nature. The price is often includes lodging, full board as well as many outdoor activities. Private homes and apartments are also fairly widespread.
Cost of living
Costa Rica is relatively cheap. In Tortuguero and Osa, life is more expensive than in other cities. Prices are higher during the dry season (December to April), which is also, of course, the tourist season.
Opening a bank account
From Europe, you will have to bring with you only U.S. dollars, in cash or in traveller checks. It is impossible to change Euros in Costa Rica. The dollars are accepted almost everywhere given the number of American tourists. You can use the cash machines in major cities. International credit cards are widely accepted: Visa, Mastercard, American Express. Banco de Costa Rica and Banco Nacional are the two most important financial institutions in the country. At least one branch of these two companies can be found in each city.
The network is very reliable and covers the entire national territory. Since March 2008, numbers have increased from 7 to 8 digits. It is necessary to add the number 2 before the fixed phone number, and the number 8 before the mobile phone number. Internet works very well and many hotels and lodges have implemented web communications.
No vaccinations are mandatory, unless you have lived or travelled in a country affected by yellow fever: a national certificate of vaccination against this disease will be required.
Transportation and travel
Taxis are easy to spot because they are all red. They are numerous, even in small towns. You can find them easily in the street without having to call them by phone. You can also rent a taxi for a day or half a day. The transportation network is very developed and buses, numerous but slow, reach even the smallest villages. It is also the cheapest means of locomotion: with 0.15 euros, you can travel from one country to another. For bus schedules, visit the website: www.horariodebuses.com. Two major airline companies exist in Costa Rica: Sansa Regional Airlines www.flysans.com and Nature Air www.natureair.com.