Costa Rica

For tourists and refugees alike, a peaceful nation provides a welcome sanctuary

Often called the “Switzerland of the Americas,” Costa Rica is a prosperous and peaceful country, settled in the thin stretch of land connecting Central and South America.

Though small, the country features an incredible variety of geography, ranging from misty cloud forests to smoldering volcanoes to pristine beaches. It provides habitats for animals as unique as three-toed sloths, tree frogs and green sea turtles.

While tourists flock to the sites and relaxed Caribbean atmosphere, thousands of refugees are drawn to Costa Rica from other Latin American countries as they seek safe haven from poverty and violence.

Costa Ricans primarily earn income from tourism, manufacturing and agriculture, though many still live in poverty. In keeping with their family-friendly culture and love of celebration, nearly all communities have a central gathering place such as a town plaza or a grassy square that doubles as a soccer field.

Your participation with Missions Door helps to plant and strengthen churches and develop Christian leaders in Costa Rica.

Cultural Snapshot

Beyond its literal meaning of “pure life,” Costa Ricans use the phrase pura vida as a greeting and general expression of gratitude for the goodness of life.

Faith Fact

Although the constitution of Costa Rica establishes Catholicism as the official state religion, it also assures religious freedom for all faiths.

Country Profile

Population: 4 million

Major Religions: 71% Catholic, 14% Protestant, 11% nonreligious

Languages: Spanish

Literacy: 96%

Poverty: 19% urban, 30% rural