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Maps and Geography
Costa Rica is bordered on the north by Nicaragua and the south by Panama, and has coasts on both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. A series of volcanic chains run from the Nicaraguan border in the northwest to the Panamanian border in the southeast, dividing Costa Rica into three distinct regions. In the center of these mountain ranges is the Central Valley, a high-altitude plain, with coastal lowlands on either side.

The Caribbean coast is a shorter, straight shoreline. Some of the most beautiful beaches in the country can be found south of Puerto Limon, the region’s capital and largest city. The northern Caribbean is famous for the Tortuguero Jungles and for tarpon and snook fishing in Barra del Colorado, close to the Nicaraguan Border.

The Pacific coast line is dotted with many bays and gulfs. Many of the country’s top beach resorts and most popular hotels are scattered throughout the more than 100 beaches located on the shores of the Pacific. The Guanacaste Province, home to world-class luxury resorts like the Four Seasons and the popular towns of Tamarindo and Flamingo, receives the highest number of visitors every year.

Further south, the Central Pacific Region encompasses Jaco Beach , a popular town for surfing; Los Sueños, the country’s most renowned resort and marina; and Manuel Antonio and its extremely popular national park. Near the border with Panama, the Corcovado Region on the Osa Peninsula is famous for its biodiversity, intense nature tours and eco-friendly lodges.

The Central Valley is home to the country’s four largest cities: Costa Rica’s capital city of San Jose, Cartago, Alajuela and Heredia. Urban development in the last few decades have formed a massive metropolitan area that virtually encloses all four cities, forming a booming, urban sprawl that is home to more than half the country’s residents. A vast majority of the economic activity that is non-agricultural and non-tourism related takes place within the Central Valley.

The Northern Plains of San Carlos and Sarapiqui involve some of the richest lands for agriculture and cattle rising. These fertile grounds account for a high percentage of the country’s production of meat, milk, forest related products, fruit and vegetable production.
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The sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is a felony in Costa Rica and is punishable with jail time