Costa Rica (the Republic of Costa Rica) is a country in Central America, with an area of 51.1 thousand square kilometers. It is located between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea on the isthmus from 120 to 265 km wide. Costa Rica shares its borders with Nicaragua in the north and with Panama in the south-east.
Terrain. Within the country there are three natural areas. An alluvial plain is joined to the Caribbean coast fringed by lagoons, than it is followed by mountain ridges, stretching from the north-west to south-east; in the north, these mountains are called the Cordillera de Guanacaste, in the south - the Cordillera de Talamanca, with the highest point in the Chirripó Grande (3820 m). Active and extinct volcanoes are the Gongora (1728 m), the Miravales (2020 m), and the Poas (2704 m). In the central part of the country, to the east of San Jose and parallel to the main mountain ranges, the Cordillera Central is stretched. The West Coast is immensely indented; the prominences of the peninsulas of Nicoya (in the north) and Wasp (in the south) protect it from heavy storms coming from the Pacific Ocean.
The height of the mountains increases toward the south, reaching over 3700 m close to the border with Panama. In the Central Cordillera about 30 km to the north-east of San Jose, four volcanic peaks are raised, including the Irazu (3432 m) and the Turrialba (3328 m ). In 1968, after 500 years of dormancy, the eruption of the volcano Arenal took place that caused widespread destruction and casualties. Between the chain of volcanoes and the mountain ranges of the Cordillera de Guanacaste and Cordillera de Talamanca are numerous intermountain valleys, the bottoms of which are located at an altitude of 900-1200 m above sea level. The largest of them (with an area of 5000 sq. km.), The Central Plateau, is home to larger part of the population. Except for San Jose, there are cities of Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago (until 1823 - the capital of the country).
The southern part of the Central Valley is drained by the Reventazon River, flowing eastward through the narrow gorges and falling into the Caribbean Sea; in the north-western part of the basin flows the Rio Grande de Tarcoles, falling into the Pacific Ocean. Along the Pacific coast lands of hilly and flat relief are alternated; the most significant area is at the top of the Bay of Nicoya, separating the hills of the Nicoya Peninsula from the mountains of the mainland. Southward of the Gulf of Nicoya, mountains come close to the very coast for almost its entire length to the mouth of the Dikis River, directly northward of the Osa Peninsula. Once the Southern Pacific coast was covered with woods, but they were reduced during land clearing for plantations of bananas, and later - the oil palms. Here is the Pan American Highway.