Costa Rica has four million inhabitants. About half of them live around San Jose, in the Central Valley. Costa Ricans (ticos) come predominately from the mixture of European and indigenous heritage. Their physical characteristics remind of the Spanish, but a fair number show varied native features. Less than one percent of the population is full fledged Indian; most of it lives in reservations around the Talamanca Mountains.
The Caribbean region has a large percentage of African descendants, especially along the coast. Many of these individual’s grandparents came from Jamaica to work on the construction of the railroad. Some Europeans have also settled in the Atlantic, fascinated by the easy-going life style. Foreigners are around a 1% of the total population. Lastly, there is also a minority with Chinese heritage spread fairly around the country.
The Costa Rican Constitution states that elementary school is free and obligatory. Around 70% of secondary education is provided by public high schools, the other 30% is provided by accredited private schools. Many national and international universities offer a variety of degrees in different majors: some even specialize in agriculture, international relations or in the environment. There are also some schools that offer a North-American or European style education from pre-kinder through high school.