Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Costa Rica, which means "Rich Coast", constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949. It is the only Latin American country included in the list of the world's 22 older democracies. Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index ranked 69th in the world in 2011. It was cited as one of the countries that have attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels and a good performer on environmental sustainability. The country is ranked fifth in the world, and first among the Americas, in terms of the 2012 Environmental Performance Index. In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021. It is recognized as as the "greenest" country in the world. The country is divided by a backbone of volcanoes and mountains, an extension of the Andes-Sierra Madre chain which runs along the western side of the Americas. Costa Rica has four distinct cordilleras or mountain ranges - Guanacaste and Tilaran in the north, Central and Talamanca in the south. Costa Rica is part of the Pacific "Rim of Fire" and has seven of the isthmus's 42 active volcanoes plus dozens of dormant or extinct cones. Earth tremors and small quakes shake the country from time to time. The country's highest point is Mt. Chirripo (3,797 meters). The capital, San Jose, and the neighboring major cities of Alajuela and Heredie lies in the middle of the Meseta Central (Central Valley). Almost two-thirds of the nation's population live in this small, fertile valley. The Pacific coastal plain is much narrower than its Caribbean counterpart. Both coasts are lined with white and black sand beaches.
The Costa Rican Variable Harlequin Toad (Atelopus varius), also known as the clown frog, is a neo-tropical true toad. Once ranging from Costa Rica to Panama the toad is now listed as critically endangered and has been reduced to a single remnant population near Quepos, Costa Rica (rediscovered in 2003) and is presumed to be extinct in Panama. Recent variation in air temperature, precipitation, stream flow patterns linked to global climate change have been the leading cause of its decline.
photo by lucky
edited by shugal
Added by argicgr