Costa Rica general Information
Costa Rica is a small but hugely diverse country in Central America, sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, on the narrow land bridge between North and South America. The country is slightly larger than the Netherlands, but still hosts an incredible variety of plant and animal species, including monkeys, sloths and jaguars, poisonous frogs, iguanas and crocodiles, toucans, parrots and hummingbirds. Mangrove forests and tropical rain forest in the lowlands to cool oak forests and sparsely vegetated páramo above 3000m, every habitat has its own flora and fauna which Costa Rica is undoubtedly one the most biodiverse countries in the world. Nearly 5% of all known species are present here just 0.01% of the earth’s surface. This diversity is partly due to quite a few different climate types that dominate the country. Four mountain ranges traverse the country from the northwest to the southeast. Those mountains dominate the landscape almost everywhere and determine the local climate and consequently the vegetation.
In some of those mountain ranges are also no less than nine volcanoes, six of them still active, including the Poas with one of the largest craters in the world (1300m diameter) and the Arenal, which almost daily red hot lava spews. And then there’s also more than a thousand km long coastline with many paradisiacal beaches, coral reefs and a few dozen uninhabited islands. In short, even the most demanding lover of nature Costa Rica is a dream destination, as well as for those who love adventure or lazy beach holidays. A good part of all this natural beauty is protected as much as 25% of the territory is managed as a national park or nature reserve. Costa Rica is often referred to as the birthplace of ecotourism, a destination where nature creates prosperity leave for the locals and a lasting positive impression on the visitor. Over a hundred hotels now have a Certificate for Sustainable Tourism, awarded by the Ministry of Tourism in recognition of environmentally friendly policies.
Moreover, Costa Rica is also a very hospitable and safe country to visit. It is the most stable democracy in Latin America and one of the few countries in the world without an army. While the rest of Central America for decades was plagued by civil wars and military coups invested army-less Costa Rica significantly in education and social security. Partly because it is by far the most prosperous country in Central America. Crime rates, even if they are higher than in Europe or North America, the lowest in the region.
Costa Ricans call themselves Ticos and Ticas, a cheerful and friendly people who are only too happy, and not without some pride, his beautiful land and its extraordinary vitality shows to the foreign visitor. The Costa Rican identity and mentality can best be described as pura vida, the national slogan, which literally means ‘pure life’. That’s exactly where Costa Rica stands; a beautiful country full of life, with little stress and pollution, a country where tranquility and unspoiled nature are easy to find.