Costa Rica General

The Republic of Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the east and south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and south and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

History

Historically, Costa Rica has enjoyed greater peace and more consistent political stability than many of its fellow Latin American nations. Former President Oscar Arias received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to end the civil wars then raging in several other Central American countries.

Costa Rica constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949. It is the only Latin American country included in the list of the world’s 22 oldest democracies. Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in terms of the Human Development Index. The country is ranked 3rd in the world, and 1st among the Americas, in terms of the 2010 Environmental Performance Index.
In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon neutral country by 2021. According to the New Economics Foundation, Costa Rica ranks first in the Happy Planet Index and is the "greenest" country in the world.

Geography

The total area is 51,100 sq. km (19,730 sq. mi.)
The Capital City is San Jose (greater metropolitan area pop. 2.1 million, the greater metropolitan area includes the cities of Alajuela, Cartago, and Heredia). Other major cities outside the San Jose capital area are Puntarenas, Limon, and Guanacaste.

Population

Locally known as “Ticos” (Tico for male singular and Tica for female singular), Costa Rica has a population of 4.640.000. Unlike many of their Central American neighbors, present-day Costa Ricans are largely of European rather than Mestizo descent; Spain was the primary country of origin. However, an estimated 10% to 15% of the population is Nicaraguan, of fairly recent arrival and primarily of Mestizo origin. Descendants of 19th-century Jamaican immigrant workers constitute an English-speaking minority and 3% of the population. Few of the native Indians survived European contact; the indigenous population today is less than 1% of the total.

Climate

Because Costa Rica is located between nine to ten degrees north of the Equator, the climate is tropical year-round. However, the country has many micro-climates depending on elevation, rainfall, topography, and geography of each particular region. The average temperature in the Central Valley is 74o F and 85o F at the beaches.

Costa Rica's seasons are defined by how much it rains during a particular period and not by 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 green season goes from May to November. Winter is considered low season and summer high season. Even though there are generally fewer crowds and lower prices in low season, Costa Rica’s popularity has risen so steadily, that the most popular destinations are busy year-round.

Eco Adventure

Costa Rica is a popular nature travel destination and ecotourism is extremely popular with the many tourists visiting the extensive national parks and protected areas around the country. Costa Rica was a pioneer in this type of tourism and the country is recognized as one of the few with real ecotourism.

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. It is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, in a country that has only 0.03% of the world's landmass, but is estimated to contain 5% of the world's biodiversity. The country also has plenty of beaches, both in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, within short travel distances, and also several volcanoes that can be visited safely. Most of the main attractions are nature-related, a combination of ecotourism with leisure and adventure activities: sun, sea and sand, flora and wildlife watching, visiting volcanoes, trekking, bird watching, canopy tours, bungee-jumping from bridges, surfing, snorkeling and rafting. There are also many cultural activities such as visiting museums, art galleries and theaters, to name just a few, that can be enjoyed.

 

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