Situation & Structure
Costa Rica is the second country of the smallest in Central America
With an area of 51 100 square kilometers, Costa Rica is a little country just 10 000 square km bigger than Switzerland.
The country is located between 8° and 11° north wide as well as 82° and 86° west large.
Borded by Nicaragua in the north and Panama in the south west, Costa Rica extends over 450 km large of the Central Americas land bridge. From the west side, borded by the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea in the east, the country has an extension of 150 to 200 kilometers. Some islands belong to the country, they have a total area of 100 sq km. The biggest are Isla Chira (52 sq km) in the Nicoya's Gulf and the Coco's Island (47 sq km)in the Pacific Ocean.
Although its size, Costa Rica shows a remarkable variety of regions. A chain of mountains recreates the spine of the Country. The north west moutains (Cordillera de Guancaste) has mainly inactive volcanoes that reach the 2 000 m. In the middle mountains (Cordillera Central) are 7 active volcanoes under the Irazú (3 432 m) and Turrialba (3 328 m). In the south west mountain's chain is the Chirripo, the biggest mountain of Costa Rica with an altittude of 3 820 m.
In the seam between the 3 chains of mountains extends the magnificant Central Valley with 50 km large and 25 km wide (Valle Central or Meseta Central), where the capital San José and the main points of the country are located. Other significant cities in this region are: Alajuela, Cartago and Heredia.
Behind the spits of land and beaches the caribbean coast extends to the 150 km of large. The main harbor city in this coast is Limón.
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