Costa Rica is a Central American country located between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. The waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean lick its shores, and its capital, and largest, city is San Jose.
The country has a total area of 51,100 sq km and a population of 4.4 million, with combined white and Mestizo groups accounting for 95 percent, and the rest being African and Amerindian.
About 95 percent of people are Roman Catholic, and the official language is Spanish.
Costa Rica was inhabited by Indians before being administered as a Spanish province in 1564. It declared independence on Sept 15, 1821 and became a republic on Aug 30, 1848.
The country has rich natural resources: 150 million tons of bauxite, 400 million tons of iron ore and 50 million tons of coal. A quarter of its territory is covered with forests, making it a popular destination for eco-tourists.
Costa Rica has one of the highest levels of economic development among Central American countries. Tourism, foreign trade and the service industry are the backbones of its economy.
Light industry and manufacturing are the country's pillar industries, while its major exports include textiles, foodstuffs, timber and chemicals.
Costa Rica is the world's second largest banana exporter, with bananas, pineapples and coffee forming the bulk of its farm produce.
The service industry is vital to Costa Rica's economy. It employs more than 50 percent of the workforce and accounts for 60 percent of the country's gross domestic product.
Costa Rica's flourishing tourism has been its major foreign currency earner. Its tourism revenue reached some $1.9 billion last year.
The establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Costa Rica on June 1 of last year paved the way for exchanges and cooperation in a wide range of fields.
Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez visited China in October of last year, and the two sides inked a series of cooperation agreements.
Last year, trade between the two countries was more than $2.87 billion.
(China Daily 11/18/2008 page3)