Facts about Costa Rica:
Population: about 4,5 million inhabitants
Size: 51 100 square kilometers.
Capital: San Jose (abot 50% of the country’s population lives here)
National parks:Altogether, the national parks and protected areas comprise more than 25%of the country. Even though it is one of the smallest countries on earth, Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse with 5% of the world‘s plant species, 6% of the world‘s wildlife species, and 10% of the world‘s bird species.
Sun: Costa Rica is located 10 degrees north of the equator which means the sun is very strong. We recommend sun block between 30-60 SPF especially for the first few days here.
Language: Spanish. However, in hotels and tourist areas most people speak English
Religion: About 90% of Costa Rica‘s population is Catholic
President: Laura Chinchilla
Independence day: 15 September
Health care: Health care standards are high but there are few hospitals on the country side. Therefore we recommend a good traveller‘s insurance.
Currency: Colones. 500 colones = about 1 USD, 1000 colones = about 2 USD (Oct 2013). The US Dollar is accepted as currency everywhere
Credit cards: In most places all major credit cards are accepted. However, some places only accept VISA. We recommend you always bring a VISA card to be safe.
Price level in store: a bottle of water = 1 USD. Can of soda = 1 USD. Bottled beer = 1.2 USD.
Price level in restaurant: Bottled beer = 2 USD. Lunch = 5-10 USD Dinner = 10-15 USD.
Electricity: 110 V American output
Drinking water: You can drink the tap water in Costa Rica but we recommend bottled water on the coast.
Lands code for phone calls: +506
Passport: Passport must be valid for 6 months after your departure date from Costa Rica.
Visa: As a US citizen no VISA required. You will automatically receive a 90 day VISA if you have a return ticket out of Costa Rica.
Departure tax: There is a departure tax of 28 US dollars that needs to be paid upon departure, which can be done at the airport.
Vaccination: No vaccinations are required to visit Costa Rica. However, Hepatitis A is recommended.
Costa rica – the Happiest country on earth
In 2009 Costa Rica was named the Happiest country on earth by the Happy Planet Index and their scientists from England.
A trip to Costa Rica is a memory for life. The lush nature, majestic beaches, vast diversity in wildlife, and last but not least the friendly population, makes Costa Rica an exotic and spectacular location for vacation. Join us on a trip and experience the incredible diversity and richness of Costa Rica!
The first thing to learn upon arrival in Costa Rica is the catch phrase “PURA VIDA!“ Directly translated from Spanish, it means Pure Life and this phrase is used for greeting others, saying goodbye, and anything related to something positive. Costa Ricans are very friendly and social, they enjoy engaging in conversation with new faces.
Costa Rica is a small country that is only 51100 square kilometers. Half of the total population of 4.5 million live in the capital city San Jose and it‘s surrounding areas. San Jose is a mountain city built 1200 meters above sea level. The country‘s biggest airport, Juan Santa Maria, is located in the heart of San Jose. Only 10 degrees north of the Equator, Costa Rica offers a lot of sun all year around. Costa Rica borders Nicaragua in the north and Panama in the south. There are more than 1290 kilometers of shoreline so there is no shortage of dazzling beaches. Throughout the country there are several mountains and volcanoes that are part of the Andean-Sierra Madre mountain chain. The difference in altitude and being surrounded by the ocean on the east and west coast gives Costa Rica an immense diversity in landscape and climate. There are 12 different types of micro climates. The country holds more than 5% of all the world‘s total plant species, 6% of all the world‘s wildlife species, and 10% of the world‘s bird species. There are only two seasons in Costa Rica, dry season and green season. Dry season is from December to April and green season is from May to November. The temperatures are similar all year around with some increase at the end of dry season. Costa Rica abolished it‘s army in 1949 and been neutral ever since. Instead of allocating money to military funds, Costa Rica allocates government money to the advancement of education and health care. This has resulted in Costa Rica becoming the most developed country in Central America with high standards of education, a good infrastructure, and low crime rates.
The Costarican kitchen is very fresh and foods are mildly seasoned with salt, pepper, coriander, garlic, and lime.
The national dish is Gallo pinto (directly translated ”painted rooster”), a dish based on refried beans and rice seasoned with onion, garlic, bell pepper, and coriander. Gallo Pinto is a classic Costa Rican breakfast dish often served with eggs and sour cream. Another famous dish is the “casado”which is another variation of rice and beans. It is served for lunch or dinner with vegetables and your choice of fish, meat, or chicken.
Ceviche is another popular dish in Costa Rica, which is comprised of raw fish marinated in lime and seasoned with both lime and coriander. Fresh fish and seafood are cheap and are used in many dishes. For dessert, the country‘s fresh fruits are very common.
Coffee Costa Rica is a large producer of coffee. Costa Rican coffee is exported all over the world to various countries, including the US. The Costa Rican people prefer their coffee with a lot of milk and sugar to get a sweet taste.
There are many adventures in Costa Rica which are made for all ages. Canopy (ziplining) among the treetops in the rain forest is an exhilarating ride, catching a fish that weighs more than you do can be awe-inspiring, and sailing in the Pacific Ocean during sunset with dolphins swimming alongside the boat is sure to put you in a excellent mood. And of course getting tan at one of the many exquisite beaches is always delightful. Why not change it up one day and go surfing? We have instructors that will teach you how to master the waves in no time! For those vacationers who want to relax there are fabulous spa‘s at the volcanoes.
Costa Rica is a small country but with endless options for an active vacation, you can read more about our excursions here.
Costa Rica by Eyewitness travel guides.
Author: Christopher P Baker
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Ltd