Planning your elective: Costa Rica
Mark Wilson gives you some tips on arranging your elective
- By: Mark Wilson
Costa Rica is between Nicaragua and Panama in Central America, has the Caribbean Sea on its east coast and the North Pacific Ocean on its west. Costa Rica's democratic development over the last century has been healthy compared to other countries in Central America and South America. The country is unique because a clause in its constitution forbids the formation of a national army. The main sources of income are agriculture (coffee and bananas), electronic exports, and, more recently, tourism.
The public health system is one of the best in Latin America. In 1995, the World Health Organization put Costa Rica's life expectancy as the third highest in the world (behind Japan and France and ahead of Great Britain and the United States). People tend to be well educated (95% of people are literate). Costa Rica has a government sponsored network of 29 hospitals and over 250 clinics divided between