Costa Rica

Introduction Although explored by the Spanish early in the 16th century, initial attempts at colonizing Costa Rica proved unsuccessful due to a combination of factors, including: disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives, and pirate raids. It was not until 1563 that a permanent settlement of Cartago was established in the cooler, fertile central highlands. The area remained a colony for some two and a half centuries. In 1821, Costa Rica became one of several Central American provinces that jointly declared their independence from Spain. Two years later it joined the United Provinces of Central America, but this federation disintegrated in 1838, at which time Costa Rica proclaimed its sovereignty and independence. Since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred the country's democratic development. Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector, Costa Rica has expanded its economy to include strong technology and tourism industries. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread.
History

In Pre-Columbian times the indigenous people, in what is now known as Costa Rica, were part of the international Intermediate Area located between the Mesoamerican and Andean cultural regions. This has recently been updated to include the influence of the Isthmo-Colombian area. It was the point where the Mesoamerican and South American native cultures met.

The northwest of the country, the Nicoya Peninsula, was the southernmost point of Nahuatl (named after Nitin) cultural influence when the Spanish conquerors (conquistadores) came in the sixteenth century. The central and southern portions of the country had Chibcha influences. However, the indigenous people have influenced modern Costa Rican culture to a relatively small degree, as most of these died from diseases such as smallpox[8] and mistreatment by the Spaniards.

The first European to reach what is now Costa Rica was Christopher Columbus in 1502.[9] During Spanish Colonial times, the principal city in Central America was Guatemala City. Costa Rica's distance from this hub led to difficulty in establishing trade routes and was one of the reasons that Costa Ricans developed in relative isolation and with little oversight from the Spanish Monarchy ("The Crown"). While this isolation allowed the colony to develop free of intervention by The Crown, it also contributed to its failure to share in the prosperity of the Colonies, making Costa Rica the poorest Spanish Colony in Central America.[10] Costa Rica was described as "the poorest and most miserable Spanish colony in all Americas" by a Spanish governor in 1719.[11]

Another contributing factor to this poverty was lack of indigenous peoples to use for forced labor. While many Spaniards in the other colonies had tribal members to work their land, most of the Costa Rican settlers had to work their own land. For all these reasons, Costa Rica was by and large unappreciated and overlooked by the Crown and left to develop on its own. It is believed that the circumstances during this period led to the formation of many of the idiosyncrasies that Costa Rica has become known for, while at the same time setting the stage for Costa Rica's development as a more egalitarian society than the rest of its neighbors. Costa Rica became a "rural democracy" with no oppressed mestizo or indigenous class. It was not long before Spanish settlers turned to the hills, where they found rich volcanic soil and a climate that was milder than that of the lowlands.[12]

Costa Rica joined other Central American provinces in 1821 in a joint declaration of independence from Spain. After a brief time in the Mexican Empire of Agustín de Iturbide Costa Rica became a state in the Federal Republic of Central America from 1823 to 1839. In 1824 the capital was moved to San José, but due to an intense rivalry with Cartago, violence briefly ensued. Although the newly independent provinces formed a Federation, border disputes broke out among them, adding to the region's turbulent history and conditions.

Costa Rica's membership in the newly formed Federal Republic of Central America, now free of Spanish rule, was short lived; in 1838, long after the Central American Federation ceased to function in practice, Costa Rica formally withdrew and proclaimed itself sovereign. The distance from Guatemala City to the Central Valley of Costa Rica, where most of the population lived and still lives, was great. The local population had little allegiance to the government in Guatemala City, in part because of the history of isolation during Colonial times. Costa Rica's disinterest in participating as a province in a greater Central American government was one of the deciding factors in the break-up of the fledgling federation into independent states, which still exist today. However, all of the Central American nations still celebrate September 15th as their independence day, which pertains to the independence of Central America from Spain.

Most Afro-Costa Ricans, who constitute about 3% of the country's population, descend from Jamaican immigrants who arrived during the 1880s to work in the construction of railways connecting the urban populations of the Central Plateau to the port of Limón on the Caribbean coast.[13] US convicts and Chinese immigrants also participated in the construction project, conducted by US businessman Minor C. Keith. In exchange for completing the railroad, the Costa Rican government granted Keith large tracts of land and a lease on the train route, which he used to produce bananas and export them to the United States. As a result, bananas came to rival coffee as the principal Costa Rican export, while foreign-owned corporations (including the United Fruit Company) began to hold a major role in the national economy.

Historically, Costa Rica has generally enjoyed greater peace and more consistent political stability compared with many of its fellow Latin American nations. Since the late nineteenth century, however, Costa Rica has experienced two significant periods of violence. In 1917-19, Federico Tinoco Granados ruled as a dictator until he was overthrown and forced into exile. Again in 1948, José Figueres Ferrer led an armed uprising in the wake of a disputed presidential election. With more than 2,000 dead, the resulting 44-day Costa Rica Civil War was the bloodiest event in Costa Rican history during the twentieth-century. Afterwards, the new, victorious government junta, led by the opposition, abolished the military and oversaw the drafting of a new constitution by a democratically-elected assembly. Having enacted these reforms, the regime finally relinquished its power on 8 November 1949 to the new democratic government. After the coup d'etat, Figueres became a national hero, winning the country's first democratic election under the new constitution in 1953. Since then, Costa Rica has held 12 presidential elections, the latest being in 2006. All of them have been widely regarded by the international community as peaceful, transparent, and relatively smooth transitions.

Geography Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama
Geographic coordinates: 10 00 N, 84 00 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 51,100 sq km
land: 50,660 sq km
water: 440 sq km
note: includes Isla del Coco
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than West Virginia
Land boundaries: total: 639 km
border countries: Nicaragua 309 km, Panama 330 km
Coastline: 1,290 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climate: tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands
Terrain: coastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major volcanoes
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Chirripo 3,810 m
Natural resources: hydropower
Land use: arable land: 4.4%
permanent crops: 5.87%
other: 89.73% (2005)
Irrigated land: 1,080 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 112.4 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 2.68 cu km/yr (29%/17%/53%)
per capita: 619 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season and landslides; active volcanoes
Environment - current issues: deforestation 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 agreements: party 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 - note: four 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
Politics

Costa Rica is a democratic republic with a strong constitution. Although there are claims that the country has had more than 115 years of uninterrupted democracy,[15] their presidential election history shows otherwise (see List of Presidents of Costa Rica). Nonetheless, the country has had at least fifty-nine years of uninterrupted democracy, making it one of the most stable countries in the region. Costa Rica has been able to successfully avoid the widespread violence that has plagued most of Central America.

Costa Rica is a republic with three powers: executive responsibilities are vested in a president, legislative power is vested on the Legislative Assembly, and Judicial power is vested on the Supreme Court. There also are two vice presidents as well as a cabinet designated by the president. The president, vice presidents, and fifty-seven Legislative Assembly delegates are elected for four-year terms. A constitutional amendment approved in 1969 limited presidents and delegates to one term, although delegates were allowed to run again for an Assembly seat after sitting out a term.

The Supreme Electoral Body, the Office of the Comptroller General, the Office of the Procurator General of the Republic and the Office of the Ombudsman also enjoy a lot of independence.

The Supreme Court is divided into 4 chambers, one dealing with Constitutional Law, one dealing with Criminal Law and two dealing with Civil Law, Merchant Law and the like.

In April 2003, the constitutional constitutional amendment ban on presidential re-election was reversed, allowing Óscar Arias (Nobel Peace Prize laureate, 1987) to run for President for a second term. In 2006, Óscar Arias was re-elected in a tight and highly contested election, running on a platform of promoting free trade. He took office on May 8, 2006.

Certain autonomous state agencies enjoy considerable operational independence; they include the telecommunications and electrical power monopoly, the nationalized commercial banks, the state insurance monopoly, and the social security agency. Costa Rica has no military by constitution but maintains domestic police forces for internal security. These include the Guardia Civil and the Guardia Rural.

People Population: 4,133,884 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 27.8% (male 587,395/female 560,408)
15-64 years: 66.4% (male 1,388,114/female 1,357,157)
65 years and over: 5.8% (male 111,758/female 129,052) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 26.8 years
male: 26.3 years
female: 27.2 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.412% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 18.02 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 4.39 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.48 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.048 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.023 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.866 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 9.45 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.32 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.21 years
male: 74.61 years
female: 79.94 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.21 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.6% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 12,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 900 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever (2008)
Nationality: noun: Costa Rican(s)
adjective: Costa Rican
Ethnic groups: white (including mestizo) 94%, black 3%, Amerindian 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1%
Religions: Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%
Languages: Spanish (official), English
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96%
male: 95.9%
female: 96.1% (2003 est.)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Costa Rica
conventional short form: Costa Rica
local long form: Republica de Costa Rica
local short form: Costa Rica
Government type: democratic republic
Capital: name: San Jose
geographic coordinates: 9 56 N, 84 05 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 7 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, San Jose
Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
Constitution: 7 November 1949
Legal system: based on Spanish civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch: chief of state: President Oscar ARIAS Sanchez (since 8 May 2006); First Vice President Laura CHINCHILLA (since 8 May 2006); Second Vice President (vacant); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Oscar ARIAS Sanchez (since 8 May 2006); First Vice President Laura CHINCHILLA (since 8 May 2006); Second Vice President (vacant)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president
elections: president and vice presidents elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single four-year term; election last held 5 February 2006 (next to be held in February 2010)
election results: Oscar ARIAS Sanchez elected president; percent of vote - Oscar ARIAS Sanchez (PLN) 40.9%; Otton SOLIS (PAC) 39.8%, Otto GUEVARA Guth (PML) 8%, Ricardo TOLEDO (PUSC) 3%
Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (57 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 5 February 2006 (next to be held in February 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLN 25, PAC 17, PML 6, PUSC 5, PASE 1, PFA 1, PRN 1, PUN 1
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (22 justices are elected for renewable eight-year terms by the Legislative Assembly)
Political parties and leaders: Authentic Member from Heredia [Jose SALAS]; Citizen Action Party or PAC [Epsy CAMPBELL Barr]; Costa Rican Renovation Party or PRC [Gerardo Justo OROZCO Alvarez]; Democratic Force Party or PFD [Marco NUNEZ Gonzalez]; General Union Party or PUGEN [Carlos Alberto FERNANDEZ Vega]; Homeland First or PP [Juan Jose VARGAS Fallas]; Independent Worker Party or PIO [Jose Alberto CUBERO Carmona]; Libertarian Movement Party or PML [Otto GUEVARA Guth]; National Christian Alliance Party or ANC [Juan Carlos CHAVEZ Mora]; National Integration Party or PIN [Walter MUNOZ Cespedes]; National Liberation Party or PLN [Francisco Antonio PACHECO Fernandez]; National Patriotic Party or PPN [Daniel Enrique REYNOLDS Vargas]; National Restoration Party or PRN [Fabio Enrique DELGADO Hernandez]; National Union Party or PUN [Arturo ACOSTA Mora]; Nationalist Democratic Alliance or ADN [Jose Miguel VILLALOBOS Umana]; Patriotic Union or UP [Jose Miguel CORRALES Bolanos]; Social Christian Unity Party or PUSC [Luis FISHMAN Zonzinski]; Union for Change Party or UPC [Antonio ALVAREZ Desanti]; United Leftist Coalition or IU [Humberto VARGAS Carbonel]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Authentic Confederation of Democratic Workers or CATD (Communist Party affiliate); Chamber of Coffee Growers; Confederated Union of Workers or CUT (Communist Party affiliate); Costa Rican Confederation of Democratic Workers or CCTD (Liberation Party affiliate); Costa Rican Exporter's Chamber or CADEXCO; Costa Rican Solidarity Movement; Costa Rican Union of Private Sector Enterprises or UCCAEP [Rafael CARRILLO]; Federation of Public Service Workers or FTSP; National Association for Economic Development or ANFE; National Association of Educators or ANDE; National Association of Public and Private Employees or ANEP [Albino VARGAS]; Rerum Novarum or CTRN (PLN affiliate) [Gilbert BROWN]
International organization participation: BCIE, CACM, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Tomas DUENAS
chancery: 2114 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 234-2945
FAX: [1] (202) 265-4795
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Hammond (temporary location in Louisiana), Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Tampa (temporarily closed), Washington, DC
consulate(s): San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Mark LANGDALE
embassy: Calle 120 Avenida O, Pavas, San Jose
mailing address: APO AA 34020
telephone: [506] 519-2000
FAX: [506] 519-2305
Flag description: five horizontal bands of blue (top), white, red (double width), white, and blue, with the coat of arms in a white elliptical disk on the hoist side of the red band; above the coat of arms a light blue ribbon contains the words, AMERICA CENTRAL, and just below it near the top of the coat of arms is a white ribbon with the words, REPUBLICA COSTA RICA
Culture

Costa Ricans often refer to themselves as tico (masculine) or tica (feminine). "Tico" comes from the popular local usage of "tico" and "tica" as diminutive suffixes (e.g., "momentico" instead of "momentito"). The phrase "Pura Vida" (literally "Pure Life") is a ubiquitous motto in Costa Rica. Some youth use mae, a contraction of "maje" (mae means "guy/dude"), to refer to each other, although this might be perceived as insulting to those of an older generation; maje was a synonym for "tonto" (stupid).

Costa Rica boasts a varied history. Costa Rica was the point where the Mesoamerican and South American native cultures met. The northwest of the country, the Nicoya peninsula, was the southernmost point of Nahuatl cultural influence when the Spanish conquerors (conquistadores) came in the sixteenth century. The center and southern portions of the country had Chibcha influences.

The Atlantic coast, meanwhile, was populated with African workers during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Most afro Costa Ricans, however, derive from nineteenth-century Jamaican workers, brought in to work on the construction of railroads between the urban populations of the Central Plateau and the port of Limon on the Caribbean coast. Italian and Chinese immigrants also arrived at this time to work on railroad construction.

Music

Costa Rican popular music genres include: an indigenous calypso scene which is distinct from the more widely-known Trinidadian calypso sound audience that supports nightclubs in cities like San José. American and British rock and roll, pop and reggaeton are popular and common among the youth (especially urban youth) while dance-oriented genres like soca, salsa, bachata, merengue and cumbia have an appeal as well. Many dances and music of Costa Rica demonstrates an African, pre-Columbian, and Spanish influence. The guitar is a popular instrument especially as an accompaniment to Folk dances.

Economy Economy - overview: Costa Rica's basically stable economy depends on tourism, agriculture, and electronics exports. Poverty has remained at roughly 20% for nearly 20 years, and the strong social safety net that had been put into place by the government has eroded due to increased financial constraints on government expenditures. Immigration from Nicaragua has increasingly become a concern for the government. The estimated 300,000-500,000 Nicaraguans estimated to be in Costa Rica legally and illegally are an important source of (mostly unskilled) labor, but also place heavy demands on the social welfare system. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and high education levels, as well as the fiscal incentives offered in the free-trade zones. Exports have become more diversified in the past 10 years due to the growth of the high-tech manufacturing sector, which is dominated by the microprocessor industry. Tourism continues to bring in foreign exchange, as Costa Rica's impressive biodiversity makes it a key destination for ecotourism. The government continues to grapple with its large internal and external deficits and sizable internal debt. Reducing inflation remains a difficult problem because of rising import prices, labor market rigidities, and fiscal deficits. Tax and public expenditure reforms will be necessary to close the budget gap. In October 2007, a national referendum voted in favor of the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). CAFTA implementation needs to be completed by March 1, 2008 and would result in an improved investment climate.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $55.95 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $22.84 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 6.1% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $13,500 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 8.6%
industry: 29.4%
services: 62.1% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 1.946 million
note: this official estimate excludes Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 14%
industry: 22%
services: 64% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate: 5.5% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 16% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 37.4% (2003)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 49.8 (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9.3% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 20.3% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $3.572 billion
expenditures: $3.843 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 47.4% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes; beef; timber
Industries: microprocessors, food processing, medical equipment, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products
Industrial production growth rate: 7% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 8.349 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 1.5%
hydro: 81.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 16.6% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 7.776 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 70 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 81 million kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - consumption: 43,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 2,998 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 43,640 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$1.259 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $9.232 billion (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar; seafood; electronic components, medical equipment
Exports - partners: US 27.5%, Netherlands 12.2%, China 11.7%, UK 6.2%, Mexico 5.8% (2006)
Imports: $11.84 billion (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: raw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum, construction materials
Imports - partners: US 41.2%, Venezuela 5.4%, Mexico 5.2%, Ireland 5%, Japan 4.9%, Brazil 4.3%, China 4.1% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $29.51 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $3.915 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $7.163 billion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $6.897 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $261.3 million (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $1.478 billion (2005)
Currency (code): Costa Rican colon (CRC)
Currency code: CRC
Exchange rates: Costa Rican colones per US dollar - 519.53 (2007), 511.3 (2006), 477.79 (2005), 437.91 (2004), 398.66 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 1.351 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 1.444 million (2006)
Telephone system: general assessment: good domestic telephone service in terms of breadth of coverage; restricted cellular telephone service; state-run monopoly provider is struggling with the demand for new lines, resulting in long waiting times
domestic: point-to-point and point-to-multi-point microwave, fiber-optic, and coaxial cable link rural areas; Internet service is available
international: country code - 506; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber-optic telecommunications submarine cable and the MAYA-1 submarine cable that provide links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; connected to Central American Microwave System; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 65, FM 51, shortwave 19 (2002)
Radios: 980,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 20 (plus 43 repeaters) (2002)
Televisions: 525,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .cr
Internet hosts: 13,792 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (of which only one is legal) (2000)
Internet users: 1.214 million (2006)
Transportation Airports: 151 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 36
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 21
under 914 m: 11 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 115
914 to 1,523 m: 19
under 914 m: 96 (2007)
Pipelines: refined products 242 km (2007)
Railways: total: 278 km
narrow gauge: 278 km 1.067-m gauge
note: none of the railway network is in use (2007)
Roadways: total: 35,330 km
paved: 8,621 km
unpaved: 26,709 km (2004)
Waterways: 730 km (seasonally navigable by small craft) (2007)
Merchant marine: total: 1 ship (1000 GRT or over) 1,058 GRT/255 DWT
by type: passenger/cargo 1 (2007)
Ports and terminals: Caldera, Puerto Limon
Military Military branches: no regular military forces; Ministry of Public Security, Government, and Police (2006)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age (2004)
Manpower available for military service: males age 18-49: 997,690
females age 18-49: 968,290 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 18-49: 829,874
females age 18-49: 809,343 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 18-49: 41,097
females age 18-49: 39,243
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 0.4% (2006)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: in September 2005, Costa Rica took its case before the ICJ to advocate the navigation, security, and commercial rights of Costa Rican vessels using the Río San Juan over which Nicaragua retains sovereignty
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 9,470 (Colombia) (2006)
Illicit drugs: transshipment country for cocaine and heroin from South America; illicit production of cannabis in remote areas; domestic cocaine consumption, particularly crack cocaine, is rising; significant consumption of amphetamines