A lush green land

Costa Rica is an astonishingly biodiverse country, with more than 500,000 species, accounting for nearly 4% of all the species in the world.

Located in Central America, Costa Rica shares borders with Nicaragua and Panama, and has two, very different, coastlines – one facing the Caribbean Sea and the other facing the North Pacific.

A rugged mountain range runs like a spine down the centre of the country, all the way from the north-west to the south-east. Within this range are a number of active volcanoes.

Around half of Costa Rica is cloaked in trees, with tropical rainforest, tropical dry forest and cloud forest types all found here. The country’s coastal waters are also home to a whole host of fascinating marine life, including sea turtles, manatees, sharks and rays.

Although Costa Rica has a fairly forward-thinking approach to conservation, its natural environment still faces a wide variety of threats including deforestation and conversion of natural habitat for farming, soil erosion, and pollution. Its rich seas are also coming under pressure – particularly from unsustainable fishing practices.

Costa Rica facts
Americas & Caribbean Country in Americas & Caribbean

Size (land & water):

51,100 km²

Population (2016 est.):


GDP per capita (2016 est.):



Costa Rica is located in Central America. It is bordered by Nicaragua, Panama, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.


of Costa Rica’s land is protected along with 15% of its seas.

About 1,200

plant species are estimated to be endemic to Costa Rica.

Our work to protect Costa Rica’s biodiversity

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has been working in Costa Rica since 2011. Our work is currently focused on protecting the country’s remarkable sea life, which is under threat from unsustainable fishing practices that are resulting in high levels of bycatch and also damaging marine ecosystems.

This work began as part of a regional marine initiative, through which FFI and partners have been engaging with government authorities as well as local communities and fishers to establish and better manage marine protected areas across Central America, including Costa Rica.

We are also working to ensure more sustainable fishing practices within Costa Rica’s waters by supporting open and transparent dialogue between government and stakeholders on the topic of shrimp trawling, and by increasing the information available to help inform decisions.

“I am excited to see the hard work of local fishing communities being recognised through the designation of Cabo Blanco Marine Management Area. Now the challenge is to ensure its implementation effectively benefits both conservation and local communities”
Julio Bernal Senior Programme Manager, Americas & Caribbean

Learn more about our work in Costa Rica