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The Just Student Jobs Country guide for gap year travel in Central America - Costa Rica

Where to Go - Central America

Click on the links below to view information on a specific country.

Belize | Costa Rica | Cuba | Guatemala | Jamaica | Mexico

Costa Rica

Population : 3,710,558

Literacy rate : 94.8%

Life expectancy at birth : male – 73.3 yrs, female – 78.47 yrs

Infant mortality rate : 11.49 deaths/1,000 live births

Population growth rate : 1.69%

GDP growth rate : 7%

GDP per capita : £4,700

Unemployment : 5.6% (1998 est.); 7.5% underemployment

Inflation : 10.8%

TI index: 5.4

Climate : tropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November)

Time : GMT - 6.

Electricity : 110/220 volts AC, 60Hz. 2-pin plugs are standard.

A relatively safe and stable Central American country. The scenery is wonderful, see the websites above.

Costa Rica is a haven of sensible, moderate government in Central America. This is not to say it is a paradise – political resistance to privatisation is just one of the problems facing the government – but it is a nice place to live and work. There are no armed forces – the constitution prohibits them. Recent inflation has been brought under control and slow, steady growth is forecast from now on.

A series of volcano ridges form the backbone of Costa Rica. The highest peak is Chirripo Grande at 3,819m. The Meseta Central is the economic heart of the country – it is a sort of central depression within the highlands. It covers some 5,200 sq km. This is where most of the excellent coffee is grown. Agriculture makes up about 20% of the economy and employs about a third of the workforce.

One way to find work is to volunteer your services for a while and make some contacts. It often works.

This is such a pleasant country that, although you will be well placed for the rest of Central America, South America and the Caribbean, you may end up staying longer than you had planned.

Entry requirements

As getting a work permit is not a realistic possibility, a visitor’s visa will suffice.


In the lack of definite information; Hepatitis A, Malaria, Typhoid and possibly Yellow Fever. See your doctor for more details.

Tax and Insurance

No definite information. Health insurance is always a good idea.

Gap Year Programmes

Click here to find gap year programmes and placements in Costa Rica

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