Costa Rica, or “rich coast,” is a volcanic, lushly rain-forested Central American country located on the isthmus between North and South America. Nestled between the coastlines of the Pacific Ocean to the West and the Caribbean Sea to the East, it is famous the world over for its expansive beaches, active volcanoes, diverse and abundant wildlife, spectacular landscapes, and progressive social and environmental policies. It is the most biologically diverse place on Earth per square mile, and about one quarter of the country is protected to preserve its wildlife and their unique habitats from destruction and development.
Costa Rica is a country in Central America famous for its beaches, volcanoes, fabulous weather, progressive social and environmental policies, exotic animals and biodiversity. It borders the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, boasting over 300 gorgeous tropical beaches. It contains 19,700 square miles of land, including several islands, that are divided into 7 provinces: San José, Heredia, Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Puntarenas & Limón.
Costa Rica is about 10 degrees the equator and the weather is gloriously tropical year round. The average temperature is a mild 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit with the coolest months being November through January and the hottest months being March through May, with an average of 12 hours of sunshine per day.
There is no summer or winter in Costa Rica, but it has a wet or “green” season from May to November with September and October being the periods of heaviest rain, and a dry season from December through April. Costa Rica has a few micro-climates as well. In certain mountain regions, they can receive 25 feet of rainfall per year. The micro-climate on the Caribbean coast is unique with tropical breezes and trade winds keeping the weather hot, humid and intermittently rainy for most of the year. The Northern Pacific Guanacaste region has mostly dry, warm weather all year.
Among Costa Rica’s natural wonders are its 14 extraordinary volcanoes, six of which are currently active.
Costa Rica is located on the land bridge connecting the North and South American continents. This isthmus allowed wildlife and plant life of the two continents to intermix, resulting in the country’s extaordinary biodiversity.
In fact, Costa Rica is considered to possess the greatest density of species biodiversity per square mile of any place on Earth.. It is home to six percent of all species, many of which do not exist anywhere else. In its diverse ecosystems, live 13 thousand species of plants, 4,500 distinct butterflies, 2,000 species of moths, 220 types of reptiles, 163 varieties of amphibians, 1,600 species of fresh and salt-water fish, and as many as 870 types of birds that have been discovered so far. And more are being discovered every day!
Costa Rica is known for its progressive environmental policies, being the only country to meet all five UNDP criteria established to measure environmental sustainability. Over 25% of Costa Rica’s territory is designated protected, including 22 national parks, 10 wildlife refuges, 20 reserves and 26 protected zones. It was the first country in the Americas to ban recreational hunting and its government has publicly announced plans to become carbon-neutral by the year 2021.
Before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century, Costa Rica was inhabited by indigenous people. It remained a colony of the Spain until its independence was declared in 1847. Since then, Costa Rica has remained among the most prosperous, stable and progressive nations in Latin America. It abolished its military permanently in 1949, preferring to invest in healthcare and education for its people.
Costa Rica’s current population is nearly 5 million, with about 1.2 million living in San Jose, the nation’s capital.
Once primarily dependent on agriculture, the Costa Rican economy has expanded and diversified and currently yields significant revenues from additional sectors such as finance, pharmaceuticals and tourism.
The Nicoya Peninsula is considered to be one of the “Blue Zones” on Earth, designated regions where people are known to commonly enjoy active lives past the age of 100 years old.
Literally translated from the Spanish, it means “pure life,” but Ticos (as local Costa Ricans are called) use the expression in many ways, sometimes as a greeting, sometimes as a synonym for “great,” sometime as an emphatic. Locals take pride in the “Pura Vida” ethos of gratitude and gusto. The message they propagate with Pura Vida is: Enjoy Life! Life is Great!