The Republic of Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the east and south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and south and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Its name translates literally as ‘Rich Coast’, was the first country in the world to constitutionally abolish its army (1948). Among Latin American countries, Costa Rica ranks 4th in terms of the 2007 Human Development Index. The country is ranked 5th in the world, and 1st among the Americas, in terms of the 2008 Environmental Performance Index. In 2007 the government stated that they want the country to be the first country to become carbon neutral by 2021.
Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals. While the country has only about 0.1% of the world’s landmass, it contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Around 25% of the country’s land area is in protected national parks national parks and protected areas, the largest percentage of protected areas in the world.