Tag: Costa Rica

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Costa Rica Human Geography

Costa Rica Human Geography

Costa Rica is a country in Central America with (2018) 5 million residents; The capital is San José.


Costa Rica is not excessively populated (86 residents / km²); however, it recorded a very strong increase in the twentieth century, passing from 300,000 residents from 1900 to ca. 4 million in 2000; this is the result of a constant lowering of the death rate, while the birth rate remains at very high values. In the early 21st century, however, there was a decline in the annual growth rate, from 3.1% in the 1980s to 1.5% in the 2000-2005 period. According to itypetravel, the residents are almost entirely of European origin; it was in fact the Spaniards who actually populated the country, in which the Indian element was and remains extremely scarce: it is estimated that the Amerindians represent 2% of the population, while the Creoles are 77%, the mestizos 17% and the mulattos 3%. The mulatto minority is the fruit of immigration of the Jamaican workforce who came to Costa Rica to work in the banana plantations of US companies. Even today the number of illegal immigrants is still relevant, especially Nicaraguans, who have penetrated Costa Rica first to escape the precarious political conditions of their country and, secondly, attracted by the demand for low-cost labor, causing, however, tensions between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

There are also very numerous Salvadoran, Cuban and Peruvian immigrants, while since 2001 there has been a considerable increase in Colombian refugees and asylum seekers. The coastal strips, due to their unfavorable environmental conditions, they have always been the least populated areas: over 70% of the residents is concentrated in the small area of ​​Meseta Central, where the province of San José exceeds 300 residents / km². The population is for approx. 40% considered rural; the capital is indeed the only real city in the country (352,366 residents in 2008), an important commercial and industrial center, thanks to its position on the transistmic railway and on the Pan-American highway. Its urban agglomeration, which has expanded towards the E and towards the West because the mountain ranges have hindered its expansion towards the south, has over 1 million residents. No other city reaches 70,000 residents; the two major centers of the Meseta are Cartago, very flourishing in colonial times but gradually decayed due to the succession of disastrous earthquakes, and Alajuela, farmer’s market and cozy garden city. Important coastal centers are Puntarenas and Limón (or Puerto Limón), on the opposite ends of the transistmic railway, on the Sea of ​​the Antilles, the second largest city in terms of population (70,166 in 2008).


Despite a prudent government policy and cuts in public spending, the trade balance remains in constant and growing deficit (in 2006 exports covered less than three quarters of imports). The main commercial partners are, for imports (oil, machinery and manufactured goods), the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, China and Japan; for exports (electronic components, products related to agriculture – coffee, bananas, cocoa, sugar – and the pharmaceutical and chemical industry), again the United States, followed by the Netherlands, Hong Kong, China and the countries of the area Central American. § As regards the infrastructures, the communication routes are on the whole in good condition; the road arteries include the Costa Rican stretch of the Pan-American motorway (carretera), which connects the country with Nicaragua and Panama, and a road system of 36,131 km, but only partially passable during the rainy season (since only 9,416 km are asphalted). Half of the railway network, 650 km, is owned by United Brands; however, the most important line, which crosses Costa Rica passing through the capital and brings together the port centers of Limón, the largest maritime outlet in the country, equipped for the export of bananas and other agricultural products to the United States, and Puntarenas (other active ports on the Pacific are Golfito and Quepos, all mainly used for the export of bananas). The major cities are also connected by overhead lines; the capital is served by the Juan Santamaría international airport, located in the province of Alajuela.


Heredia [e reðja], capital of the province in Costa Rica, 1 200 meters above sea level, as an agglomeration (2020) 367 900 residents.

University (founded 1973); Center of coffee cultivation and trade.

Cartago (Costa Rica)

Cartago, provincial capital in Costa Rica, 1 450 m above sea level, on the Meseta Central, at the foot of the Irazú volcano (3 432 m above sea level), as a metropolitan area (2020) 232 300 residents.

Cartago, founded in 1563, was until 1823 the capital of the governorate of Costa Rica, which was part of the General Capitol of Guatemala; destroyed several times by earthquakes.


Alajuela [ala x  ela], capital of the province of Alajuela, Costa Rica, as an agglomeration (2020) 196 900 residents.

Bishopric; Trade center and industrial location (food, shoe and textile industries).


Puntarenas, port city and provincial capital in Costa Rica, on the Gulf of Nicoya, (2020) 87 500 residents.

Food industry (including fishery products). The port was replaced as the most important Pacific port in Costa Rica by the caldera around 15 km away.

Costa Rica Human Geography