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Welcome to Costa Rica!

Costa Rica is a small country located in Central America and it has been ranked as one of the most visited destinations worldwide. Bordering Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, this is a democratic and peaceful country without a standing army since 1949. Despite its small size, Costa Rica shelters 5% of the existing biodiversity in the entire world.

Being a tropical country, Costa Rica's landscapes and climate zones are immensely varied; jungles with lush vegetation and awe-inspiring flora, beaches, mountains and active volcanoes are some of the things you can experience here.

The country is divided into seven provinces (Its capital: San José, Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Limón). Its territory stretches across 51 100 square kilometers and it extends all the way from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea with a distance of barely 200 miles from shore to shore.

The currency of the country is the Costa Rican Colón (plural colones)(¢) and the official language is Spanish. However, there is a lot of cultural diversity in Costa Rica with ethnic groups and colonies of immigrants including African descendants, Chinese, Italian, Hebrew, etc. There are also several indigenous populations: Bribri, Cabecar, Maleku, Teribe, Boruca, Ngöbe, Huetar and Chorotega.

Costa Rica can give you the perfect balance between adventure, culture, wildlife and relaxation. We hope you enjoy your visit to Costa Rica!

About Turrialba

During the country's development, several towns were created and prospered when railroads were first introduced to the Caribbean during the 19th century; Turrialba is one of these.  Declared a City of National Archeological Interest, this town is the entryway to the Costa Rican Caribbean. Two universities are located here: the Tropical Agronomy Research and Learning Center (CATIE), and the Atlantic Campus of the University of Costa Rica. Economy in Turrialba is based on commerce, sugar cane grow, coffee, dairy products and tourism.

Turrialba, located in the Cartago province, is home to the Pacuare River that flows out of the Talamanca mountain range. This river is well known for it excellent rafting opportunities and stunning scenery. Furthermore, the Turrialba Volcano National Park is located in this town. The stratovolcano is 3340 m high and its summit has three craters. Currently, the volcano is active, generating mainly gases and volcanic ash without causing major risks or damage.

The Guayabo National Monument, located 10 miles northeast of Turrialba, preserves some archeological structures that were inhabited from 1000 B.C until 1400 A.D. This site has been declared as a World Heritage Civil Engineering site and it protects several prehispanic structures like paths, roads, steps, water tanks and aqueducts developed using river boulders.

Atlantic Campus, University of Costa Rica

The University of Costa Rica (UCR) has its origins in 1843 in what was then called University of Santo Tomás. However, by the end of the XIX century and because of Costa Rica's education policies and funding decisions, the University of Santo Tomás closed after 45 years of operation.  After 1890, there was no higher academic institution in the country and professional schools and colleges were the ones offering higher education opportunities. It wasn't until the 1940s that under the administration of Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia the Universidad de Costa Rica was officially created as a higher education and culture institution.

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On 1941, the UCR finally opened its doors in the capital, San José. In 1956, construction of the central campus began is San Pedro de Montes de Oca, San José. Later on, during the start of the 1970s a proposal to regionalize the institution was created. This idea materialized with the opening of the Occidental Campus and later on with the creation of new campuses in other parts of the country: Guanacaste, Pacific and Atlantic. The University of Costa Rica was declared in 2001 as a Meritorious Institution of Education and Culture in Costa Rica

The Atlantic Campus of the UCR is located in Turrialba, 67 km from San José in the atlantic region of the country. It was created in 1971 and it currently extends its academic activities to several nearby towns. This specific campus of the UCR has an average student body of 1687 people.

 

Getting to Costa Rica

Entering Costa Rica can be done by land or air. If coming by land, the Inter American Highway crosses the country all the way from the Nicaraguan border to the Panamanian border. Following this road will get you to San José.  From San José, head on to Cartago City and from there you will be able to follow the signs all the way to Turrialba.

If entering the country by air, you should plan to land in the Juan Santamaría International Airport (airport code: SJO), located in the city of Alajuela, approximately 20 kilometers from San José.

Immigration requirements

The following information was taken from the Costa Rican Government's Immigration Office's website and is provided as is. Please consult the Costa Rican consulate in your country of citizenship to make sure to have the latest, official information.

The rules are the following:

  • No entry visa is required for Canada, the United States, and any European country or Great Britain.

  • Citizens of the following Latin American countries are required an entry visa: Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Perú, Dominican Republic.

  • If you belong to the second group, but you have an entry visa stamped on your passport and still valid for at least three months for the United States, Canada, South Korea, Japan, the European Union countries, or a Schengen visa, you will not be required a Costa Rican entry visa.