Costa Rica

The Republic of Costa Rica is located in Central America and is an amazingly beautiful country. Following is an overview of the past and present of Costa Rica for travelers.

Overview of Costa Rica for Travelers

Christopher Columbus discovered Costa Rica and the indigenous people living there in 1502. The Spanish subsequently colonized it. The name of the country, Rich Coast, comes from their mistaken belief that gold was prevalent. It wasn’t, but the name stuck. In 1821, Costa Rica joined other Central American countries in declaring independence from Spain. True independence didn’t occur till 1838 when Costa Rica broke away from a federation of Central American countries.

In a major departure from many Central America countries, Costa Rica has largely been a free and peaceful democracy since 1899. It has a system of checks and balances similar to the United States, but more power is invested with the President and executive branch. The President and congressional members are elected to 4-year terms.

Costa Rica covers an area of 19,730 square miles. The capital is San Jose, which has a population of 2.1 million people. The terrain is rugged and tropical with dormant volcanoes, a rain forest in the south and immaculate beaches. Rainfall is heavy during summer months, but temperatures are consistently in the 70 to 90 degree range.

The people of Costa Rica are known both as “Ticos” and “Costa Ricans.” The total population is 4 million, but growing at 1.5 percent. Roman Catholic is the dominant religion, although 15 percent of the population claims Protestant as their faith. Literacy is at 96 percent. Average life expectancy for a woman is 79 years while men average 74 years. Spanish is the dominant language.

Costa Rica is both a hot tourist and relocation destination. The country is simply beautiful and the people are friendly. There has been a lot of construction and expansion over the last 15 years. Places like Tamarindo are no longer sleepy little coast towns. If you want to see the sleepy Costa Rica of old, now is the time to go before it is to late.


A visit to Costa Rica offers you active volcano exploration, wild animals, lush rainforests, and great beaches. On one of the ultimate paradises left untouched on this planet, there are no military, no nuclear power plants, lots of culture to offer, and no winter.

A democratic society, Costa Rica is known as one of the most peaceful in the world. The last civil war was in 1948, and since then, armed forces have been abolished and the country has been able to avoid such dangers as despotic dictatorships, military coups, terrorism, and all other forms of internal strife.

Not only that, a Costa Rica travel guarantees you a friendly atmosphere wherever part of the country you choose to visit.

The name literally means “rich coast” but Costa Rica is rich for far more than its coast. The country is replete with incredible natural beauties and many species of animals, some of them extremely rare.

The flora biodiversity alone is made up of well over 10,000 species of vascular plants and beautiful flowers. And as for tree species, almost 2,000 have been recorded in this small country in Latin America.

Besides land mammals and birds that would make any sane eco-tourism enthusiast go ga-ga over, Costa Rica is also home to 835 species of fish, of which 700 are saltwater fish. Anglers and fishers are going to have an awesome time dipping their poles in Costa Rica’s clear, azure waters to hook any one of these tropical fish species.

The northwest region of Costa Rica, called Guanacaste, is where most of the Costa Rica travelers go because of the wide variety of scenery and activities offered, you will realize that there are so many more types of tours you can take.

You can also take one of those canopy tours, which are popular all over Costa Rica. But if you want the richest and best experience in Costa Rica’s rainforests.

Costa Rica is the paradise of adventure lovers and adventure seekers.

Travelers can wonder at the plentiful Costa Rica wildlife as they slither atop the trees in a canopy tour of their Costa Rica adventure. Or they can dive amidst the beautiful coral reefs and amazing marine life. Or gawk at caves and islands along the country’s over seven-hundred fifty miles of shoreline, or simply stalk the splendid and mysterious quetzal, known to be the most striking bird on earth.

Fishing is one of the Costa Rica adventures that visitors may want to indulge in. The country offers excellent big game and freshwater fishing with the Pacific coast thriving with billfish, marlin, snook, and sailfish. The Caribbean coast on the other hand is famous for its craggy coastline and its inlets, canals, and coves lively with tarpon. In the north central Costa Rica, Avenel Lake is filled with deep as well as stunning mountain scenery.

Eco-tourism is also one of the many reasons that tourists visit Costa Rica. The country is one of the world’s leaders when it comes to non-invasive tourism. In general, an eco-lodge is dedicated to lessening its impact on the environment and supporting both the residents of the local community and the local conservation efforts.

Diving and snorkeling in the country’s many miles of shoreline, is an essential at the numerous reefs, caves, islands, and rocks off the coast creates an interesting water exploration.

This small country offers each adventurer a rich, unique, and enjoyable thrilling activities to make you next Costa Rica vacation unforgettable

Experience Costa Rica on Horseback

There are many places in Costa Rica that should be experienced on horseback. It is one of Costa Rica’s most popular activities for tourists and can be found in nearly every single town. The Northern Pacific area, also known as Sabanero Country (cowboy country) is home to horse and cattle ranches that would make a Texan jealous. If a romantic gallop along the beach at sunset is your fantasy, the Central Pacific area is the one for you. You can also ride in and around waterfalls and rainforests. Monteverde and Arenal include a great deal of mountainous terrain and also pass through a few coffee plantations along the way.

It’s hard to think of Costa Rica and not imagine the beautiful ocean waters that rise to the sandy beaches. These waters are full of fun activities like dolphin and whale watching. Canoeing is a good workout and also a fun way to see the sights from the water. Explore the underworld beneath the surface of the ocean with scuba diving and snorkeling. You will be amazed at the colors the ocean hides beneath the waves. Many different species of fish, crustaceans and coral live here and are all intricately decorated by nature. At the end of your long day of hiking and climbing, relax in the natural hot springs heated by the active volcanoes around Costa Rica.

See Costa Rica on a Hot Air Balloon

The luscious greens and crystal blues of the Costa Rican landscape and water is often best seen from above. Float over the rainforests, ocean waters, mountains, volcanic rock and picturesque coffee plantations from the comfort of a hot air balloon. Not to worry, you don’t have to know how to work one. An experienced professional will pilot the craft while you and your companions relax and enjoy the scenery. Parasailing is another amazing adventure in the air that flies you far above the water. It’s incredible how much sea life you can actually see from hundreds of feet above.

For a true nature lover, and certainly not for the faint of heart, a canopy tour is an absolute must-do. They provide an interesting look into the delicate ecosystem of the rainforests from zip-lines and aerial trams. No matter what method you choose to experience your full Costa Rica vacation travel, remember that it doesn’t stop when you reach your destination. If it does you are missing out. See Costa Rica the way it was intended, from all perspectives.

Stay safe in Costa Rica

The usual warnings apply. Stay out of any red light districts there may be and always travel with groups in well-lit areas. Keep your money in a hidden pocket somewhere in your clothing but do not carry a wallet. It is advised that you keep a credit card or travelers checks. Both are insured and when you are on vacation if you are mugged you can get them replaced.

Don’t leave your drinks unattended and don’t make change or flash your cash. It’s not difficult just handle your transactions discreetly. Stifle the need to wear expensive jewelry it’s overdone in this environment anyway. It has been suggested that visitors keep photocopies of their return plane ticket and their passport. Keep an extra stash of cash in your hotel room just in case of an emergency.

If you drive your rented car out of a gas station, grocery store, your hotel, or just about anywhere and it ends up with a flat tire. Don’t let the inevitable Good Samaritan help you that comes right along as soon as you have broke down. In the past there have been tourists that allowed this nice guy that just happened along, to help them change the tire while he has you distracted his buddies sneak into the other side of the car and steal you belongings.

The roads are usually paved and easy to travel but occasionally you have to go down some rough dirt road. If you are unsure of the roads don’t drive them. As a matter of fact, it just isn’t good sense to rent a car. The cost of gas is terrible and you have to stress out about figuring out where you are going. It would be smart to set aside a bus/taxi fare when you plan your trip.

If someone spills food on you move quickly away from them as they try to help you. Wiping ketchup off of you is a way to grab you and pick your pockets. This is an old ploy that is used all too often in many ports of call, not just Costa Rica. Many people come to Costa Rica looking for photo opportunities. Shutterbugs just love their equipment and it is a big tragedy when their cameras get stolen.