Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica (Spanish: Costa Rica or República de Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south-southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Costa Rica was the first country in the world to constitutionally abolish its army.
Costa Rica has avoided the violence that has plagued Central America; it is seen as an example of political stability in the region. Since the late 19th century only two brief periods of violence have marred its democratic development.
In 1949 José Figueres Ferrer abolished the army; making Costa Rica the first country ever to operate within the democratic system without the assistance of a military (an example that was later followed by other nations such as Panama after the American invasion of 1989 to oust General Manuel Noriega).
Costa Rica (Spanish for "Rich Coast"), was a largely agricultural country. However, during the last few decades, Costa Rica has achieved a relatively high standard of living. Electronics is a rapidly expanding industry, and along with tourism serves as the major industries of the country thanks to its social stability and rich natural environment
Costa Rica is located on the Central American isthmus, 10° North of the equator and 84° West of the Prime Meridian. It borders both the Caribbean Sea (to the east) and the North Pacific Ocean (to the west), with a total of 1,290 kilometres (802 mi) of coastline (212 km / 132 mi on the Caribbean coast and 1,016 km / 631 mi on the Pacific).
Costa Rica also borders Nicaragua to the north (309 km / 192 mi of border) and Panama to the south-southeast (639 km / 397 mi of border). In total, Costa Rica comprises 51,100 square kilometers (19,730 sq. mi) plus 589.000 square kilometers of territorial waters.
The highest point in the country is Cerro Chirripó, with 3,810 metres (12,500 ft), the fifth highest peak in Central America, after Volcan Tajumulco and three other summits in Guatemala. The highest volcano in the country is the Irazú Volcano (3,431 m or 11,257 ft). The largest lake in Costa Rica is Lake Arenal.
Costa Rica also comprises several islands. Cocos Island stands out because of its distance from continental landmass (24 km² or 9.25 sq mi, 500 km or 310 mi from Puntarenas coast), but Calero Island is the biggest island of the country (151.6 km² or 58.5 sq mi).
Costa Rica protects over 25% of its national territory within national parks. It also possess the greatest density of species in the world.
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