Global Sourcebook for International Data Management

                                         by Graham Rhind

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Costa Rica

Global Sourcebook | Index | Properties


For supplementary information, see links to post office home pages here External, to postal code pages here External and to other personal name and addressing issues pages here External.

Table of Contents

Costa Rica - Country information


Local short name form

Official name





International telephone access code


ISO 3166 country codes

Car nationality plate code


Internet country code


GRC Country Code


Costa Rica - Number format


(where , indicates the decimal separator and . the thousands separator)

Costa Rica - Languages


Languages map External

The official language is Spanish External. Other languages spoken are: Boruca External (5 speakers); Bribri External (6 000 speakers); Cabécar External (3 000 speakers); Yue Chinese (4 500 speakers); Maléku Jaíka External (365 speakers); Platdietsch External (100 speakers); Teribe External (5 speakers) and Western Caribbean Creole English External (55 100 speakers).

Costa Rica - Personal names and forms of address


The abbreviation used for Señorita in Costa Rica is Srta.

Each person usually has a given name followed by two family names, that of the father followed by that of the mother, for example:

   Barbara Betancourt Perez

Upon marriage, females may take their husband’s name as a further given name, in this way:

   Barbara Betancourt Perez de Lopez

where the de indicates “(wife) of”. De usually indicates a married female, but may also be part of a name.

Professional people are often referred to by their qualification, followed by the given name and paternal family name (and sometimes the maternal family name):

   Arquitecto (m) / Arquitecta (f)           Architect
   Doctor (m) / Doctora (f) (Dr/Dra)         Doctor
   Ingeniero (m) / Ingeniera (f) (Ing.)      Engineer
   Licenciado (m) / Licenciada (f) (Lic.)    Holder of a university degree
   Maestro (m) / Maestra (f)                 Grammar school teachers
   Profesor (Prof.)                          Professor, higher education teachers

Tables of names can be acquired: given names External, surnames/family names External, family name prefixes External, forms of address External, job titles External

Costa Rica - Company legal forms


Costa Rican company types include:

   Empresa Individual de Responsabilidad Limitada (EIRL)
   Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada (SRL)
   Sociedad Anónima (SA)
   Sociedades en Comandita (S en C)
   Sucursal (branch)

Comprehensive tables of these strings can be acquired – see External

Costa Rica - Address format


Wall Street Journal article about the old descriptive system of Costa Rican addresses External

Costa Rica changed its address format along with its postal code system in 1st March 2007.

Addresses are written in the following format:

   Recipient name
   {thoroughfare type[]}Thoroughfare name[, ]house number{[, ]floor etc. indicators}
   {second address line}
   Province[, ]Locality[, ]District
   postal code

For example:


Addresses being created in metropolitan areas are being assigned on the basis of a technical standard. Streets have the throughfare types avenida, calle, diagonal or transversal depending on their compass direction, with squares being plazas. Streets are numbered, e.g. avenida 2 with new streets being given the lowest number of the perimeter streets plus a letter. Thus a new street between avenida 2 and avenida 3 would be named avenida 2A. The numbers are allocated on the basis of their position relative to a zero point. Streets to the west and south of this zero point get even numbers; those to the north and east odd numbers. Plazas are numbered on the basis of the north/south streets (avenidas) entering them. Premise numbers are assigned based on the number of metres from the end of the thoroughfare closest to the zero point, with odd numbers on the left (travelling outwards) and even numbers on the right. On plazas numbers travel clockwise from the point closest to the zero point, with odd numbers on the outside perimeter of the square and even numbers on the inside perimeter.

Directional indicators are often used instead of a street name, giving distances and directions from a prominant building such as a church or school, with a description of the delivery point building such as

     From the Happy Corner Supermarket, 2 blocks  to the north next to the white house with the green door.

For example:


with mts being used as an abbreviation for metres.

An example format for mail to post office boxes is:


When addresses are written in Spanish, calle, the Spanish word for street, is rarely written. The Spanish thoroughfare type, when included, is written before, and separately from, the thoroughfare name. It should be written with the first letter in lower case.

For other address element information, please refer to the chapter on Spain.


A table containing information about the relevant position of elements within address blocks can be acquired External

Costa Rica - Post office box


The word for post office box is Apartado. Case Postale, abbreviated to CP or Apartado Postal or AP are also often used.

Costa Rica - Postal codes


Costa Rica changed its postal code (Código Postal) system in March 2007 from 4 to 5 or 9 digits in these formats:


The former are used for street addresses, the latter for post office box addresses. The first five digits are a distrital code which equates with geographical areas. The first number indicates the province, the second and third the cantón, the fourth and fifth the district. I.e., the code repeats the information written in full on the line above the postal code line in the address block. For post office boxes the final four digits are the same those used in the postal code before March 2007.

The codes are not widely publicised or used.

Metadata containing postal code formatting rules, exceptions and regular expressions can be acquired External

Costa Rica - Postal code format graphic



Costa Rica - Postal code format

Costa Rica - Postal code specifics


Costa Rica - Postal code regular expression


Costa Rica - Postal code level of coverage


Costa Rica - Postal code map


Costa Rica - Administrative districts


Administrative districts graphic


Costa Rica has 7 provinces External (provincias, singular - provincia), found in addresses:

Province Postal code area
Alajuela External 2
Cartago External 3
Guanacaste External 5
Heredia External 4
Limón External 7
Puntarenas External 6
San José External 1

This regions/postal code data can be acquired as a data file External

Telephone numbers in Costa Rica


Costa Rican telephone numbers have no area codes. Subscriber numbers have 8 digits. Mobile numbers commence with 5, 6, 7 or 8.

Tables of telephone number information/formats can be acquired – see External

Properties with value Costa Rica

Every effort is made to keep this resource updated. If you find any errors, or have any questions or requests, please don't hesitate to contact the author.

All information copyright Graham Rhind 2017. Any information used should be acknowledged and referenced.