Costa Rica/Geography

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Location: Middle 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:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Chirripo 3,810 m

Natural resources: hydropower

Land use:
arable land: 6%
permanent crops: 5%
permanent pastures: 46%
forests and woodland: 31%
other: 12% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,200 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season; active volcanoes

Environment - current issues: deforestation, largely a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching; soil erosion; water pollution (rivers); fisheries protection; solid waste management

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation