Costa Rican units of measurement

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A number of units of measurement were used in Costa Rica to measure measurements in length, mass, area, capacity, etc. In Costa Rica, metric system has been adopted since 1910, and has been compulsory since 1912, by a joint convention among Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Salvador.[1][2]

Pre-metric units

Before metric system, a number of modified Spanish (i.e. Spanish Castilian[2]), English and local unites were used.[1]


A number of units were used to measure length. One vara was equal to 0.8393 m.[1][2] Some other units are given below: [1][2]

1 cuarta = 1/4 vara

1 tercia = 1/3 vara

1 mecate = 24 vara.


Several units were used to measure mass in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragus and Salvador. Some units are given below:[1][2]

1 caja = 16 kg

1 fanega = 92 kg

1 carga = 161 kg.

As a typical coffee measure, fanega was equal to 46 kg of coffee.[3]


Several units were used to measure area in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragus and Salvador. One manzana was equal to 10000 vara2 or 6960.5 m2.[1] One caballeria was equal to 64 manzana.[1][2]


Several units were used to measure capacity in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragus and Salvador.One botella was equal to 0.63 to 0.67 l.[1][2] One cajuela was equal to 16.6 l.[1] The capacity of one cuartillo is very variable.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Washburn, E.W. (1926). International Critical Tables of Numerical Data, Physics, Chemistry and Technology. New York: McGraw-Hil Book Company, Inc. p. 5.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Cardarelli, F. (2003). Encyclopaedia of Scientific Units, Weights and Measures. Their SI Equivalences and Origins. London: Springer. pp. 157, 158. ISBN 978-1-4471-1122-1.
  3. ^ Danse, M.; Wolters, T., Sustainable Coffee in the Mainstream (in The case of the SUSCOF Consortium in Costa Rica, p. 46
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