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Costa rica is home to approximately four million people and covers 19,344 square miles (50,100 square kilometers). Its geographical smallness belies immense physical diversity; Pacific and Atlantic oceanic influences combine with three mountain ranges to support a wide variety of plant and animal life. Within the Costa Rican parks system, an estimated 500,000 to one million species of flora and fauna are protected, and Costa Rica is ranked as one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world.

Costa Rica is often seen as an anomaly in Central America. Politically, it has a long history of democracy and has enjoyed peace in a region plagued by civil wars, most recently in the 1980s and early 1990s. Following one short civil war in 1948, Costa Rica's ...

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