Vi er i Costa Rica

Vi er i Costa Rica

A peaceful political situation

Having fun outside, SOS Children's Village Limón - photo: Miguel Rivera
Having fun outside, SOS Children's Village Limón – photo: Miguel Rivera
The Republic of Costa Rica is situated in Central America. It shares borders with Nicaragua in the north and Panama in the south. Costa Rica is listed among the top twenty countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world.

In 1949, then-president José Figueres Ferrer abolished the country's army. In fact, he was the first president in the world to do so. Since then, Costa Rica has maintained only a small number of law enforcement guards for internal security reasons.

At present, the total population of Costa Rica is 4,300,000, with roughly one quarter living in the capital city of San Jos̩. Costa Rica is home to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the United Nations University of Peace, both based in San Jos̩. Tourism Рparticularly from Europe, Canada and the United States Рnow accounts for a vast part of Costa Rica's Gross Domestic Product.

A country characterised by a huge disparity of income

Despite the fact that Costa Rica has one of the highest standards of living in the Americas, profound poverty still affects many people at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. About 10 per cent of Costa Ricans still find themselves struggling to make ends meet, living on less than USD 1.25 a day. Poverty in Costa Rica is especially observable in rural areas and in certain parts of the country's capital San José.

The wealthiest 20 per cent of the population still control more than half of the total national income, a figure that has been on the rise lately. Costa Rica is currently ranked 69th in the Human Development Index (HDI) that compares life expectancy, education and per-capita GNI of 177 countries worldwide.

Children in need of protection

Siblings, SOS Children's Village Limón - photo: Miguel Rivera
Siblings, SOS Children's Village Limón – photo: Miguel Rivera

According to the United Nations Children Fund, 36,000 children in Costa Rica are orphans. Due to dysfunctional or non-existent family structures, many of them are at risk of ending up on one of the crime-ridden streets and barrios, where child prostitution, drug abuse and gang violence quickly become part of their everyday lives.

Another severe problem in Costa Rica is HIV: although no data is available with regards to the HIV prevalence among young children, the overall HIV prevalence in Costa Rica is one of the highest in Central America. According to a study carried out by UNAIDS, knowledge of Costa Rican adolescents regarding HIV and prevention methods is limited.

Website of SOS Children's Villages Costa Rica
(available in Spanish)

Villages in Costa Rica

  1. Limón
  2. Santa Ana
  3. Tres Ríos