Since the late 1980’s Costa Rica became a popular nature travel destination, and its main competitive advantage is its well-established system of national parks and protected areas, covering around 23.4% of the country’s land area, the largest in the world as a percentage of the country’s territory, and home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, in a country that has only 0.03% of the world’s landmass, but that is estimated to contain 5% of the world’s biodiversity.
By the early 1990s, Costa Rica became known as the poster child of ecotourism. According to the Costa Rican Tourism Board, 46% of international tourists visiting the country in 2009 engaged in activities related to ecotourism, including trekking, flora, fauna, and bird watching, and visits to rural communities. However, most visitors look for adventure activities, which Costa Rica offers as well.
Costa Rica historically managed to stay away from the political turmoil and violence from which neighbouring nations still suffer. The nation constitutionally abolished its army permanently in the 1940s. It has also managed to be the only Latin American country included in the list of the world’s 22 oldest democracies, paying homage to its stance as a peaceful and politically stable nation.
The New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica as the happiest nation in the world, both in 2009 and in 2012. This same organization (NEF) ranked Costa Rica as the «greenest» country in the world.
Costa Rica’s seasons are defined by how much rain falls during a particular period and not to the four seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. The year can be split into two periods, the dry season known to the residents as summer, and the rainy season, known locally as winter. The «summer» or dry season goes from December to April, and «winter» or rainy season goes from May to November, which almost coincides with the List of Atlantic hurricane seasons, and during this time, it rains constantly in some regions.
The location receiving the most rain is the Caribbean slopes of the Central Cordillera mountains, with an annual rainfall of over 5000 mm. Humidity is also higher on the Caribbean side than on the Pacific side. The mean annual temperature on the coastal lowlands is around 27°C, 20°C in the main populated areas of the Central Cordillera, and below 10°C on the summits of the highest mountains.
Costa Rican cuisine is known for being flavorful, yet fairly mild, with high reliance on fresh fruits and vegetables. Rice and black beans are a staple of most traditional Costa Rican meals, often served three times a day. Costa Rican faris nutritionally well rounded, and nearly always cooked from scratch from fresh ingredients. Traditional meals have a home-cooked, comforting feel to them. Due to the tropical location of the country, there are many exotic fruits and vegetables readily available and included in the local cuisine Costa Rican cuisine is known for being flavorful, yet fairly mild, with high reliance on fresh fruits and vegetables. Rice and black beans are a staple of most traditional Costa Rican meals, often served three times a day. Costa Rican fairs nutritionally well rounded, and nearly always cooked from scratch from fresh ingredients. Traditional meals have a home-cooked, comforting feel to them. Due to the tropical location of the country, there are many exotic fruits and vegetables readily available and included in the local cuisine.
Both tropical plant and animal species abound in Costa Rica. Some of the more impressive plants range from huge ficus trees with epiphytes abounding on their limbs to approximately 1500 different orchids.
The animals are equally as impressive, whether it’s a jaguar (the largest cat in the New World), the ever-elusive Margay, or the wonderful birds like the green or scarlet macaws (lapas in Costa Rican Spanish.) The amphibians are also quite impressive; the poison dart frogs with their bright colors are bound to catch your attention, or the giant cane toads, Toucan.
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