Greater Metropolitan Area (Costa Rica)

The Greater Metropolitan Area of Costa Rica, (Spanish: Gran Área Metropolitana, GAM) is the largest urban agglomeration in Costa Rica, comprising areas of high population density surrounding the capital, San José, which geographically corresponds to the Central Valley and extended to include the Guarco Valley, where some of the cantons of the Cartago province are located.

Greater Metropolitan Area
Gran Área Metropolitana
View of the Greater Metropolitan Area towards the west
View of the Greater Metropolitan Area towards the west
Greater Metropolitan Area is located in Costa Rica
Greater Metropolitan Area
Greater Metropolitan Area
Location in Costa Rica
Coordinates: 9°55′59″N 84°04′59″W / 9.933°N 84.083°W / 9.933; -84.083Coordinates: 9°55′59″N 84°04′59″W / 9.933°N 84.083°W / 9.933; -84.083
CountryCosta Rica
ProvincesSan José, Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia
 • Total2,044 km2 (789 sq mi)
1,100 m (3,600 ft)
 • Total3,160,000
Time zoneUTC-6

The proper definition and delimitation corresponds to the National Institute of Statistics and Census of Costa Rica (INEC) and could vary over time. According to the last census,[1][2] the GAM has a population of 2.2 million inhabitants (about 50% of the population) in an area of 2,044 km² (just around 3.84% of the area Costa Rica [3]).

General definitionEdit

Since colonial times, Costa Rica's Central Valley houses a major share of the population in less than a tenth of the country's total area. On this plateau lies three of the seven provincial seats, including the capital, San José. Throughout the years a strong immigration stream spurred by the uneven economic opportunities and a growing job demand helped to expand this urban cores and to develop new residential areas in former agricultural lands.

The Greater Metropolitan Area has an area of 1,779 square kilometres (687 sq mi) composed of the Central Valley and Guarco Valley, partially covering the four provinces of San José, Alajuela, Cartago and Heredia, and the following cantons (some partially by including only some of their districts):[3]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-21. Retrieved 2012-09-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-24. Retrieved 2012-11-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b "Acerca del GAM". Retrieved 26 February 2020.