What I Learned About Costa Rica

costa-rica-1Conservation:

Did you know that almost 26% of Costa Rica’s land is protected? There are 20 national parks, 8 biological reserves, animal refuges and protected areas. Being surrounded by these natural beauties is an experience worth having!

Vacation Destination:

Did you know that Costa Rica has become one of the great vacation destinations? In 2013 over 2 million visitors went to Costa Rica to enjoy its beautiful and varied landscapes, its  two oceans and the many outdoor activities it can offer both on land and sea.  If you can dream it, you will find it here!

Site to World Heritage Organizations:

Did you know that Costa Rica is home to four UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations) World Heritage Sites? These are: La Amistad National Park, Cocos Island National Park, Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, and the Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements with Stone Spheres of the Diquis.

A Country With No Army:

Did you know that Costa Rica is one of 23 countries in the world that does not have an army? Their army was dissolved in 1948 and the abolition of the military was written into the national constitution in 1949.  The United States and 21 other countries signed a treaty of reciprocal assistance, agreeing to provide military support should they need it. In 1980, the United Nations University for Peace was created and housed in Costa Rica.

costa-rica-2Costa Rica Life Expectancies:

Did you know Costa Rica has one of the highest life expectancies in the world? According to the World Bank, the life expectancy here at birth is 80 years, one year higher than in the United States.  In fact, the Nicoya region is also one of the Blue Zones – “longevity hotspots” populated by the longest living people in the world.  It must be the water!

A Country of Many Volcanos:

Did you know there are over 200 volcanic formations in Costa Rica? Of these around 112 have shown some type of activity.  Arenal is the most active volcano in Central America, while Poas is the second widest volcanic crater in the world and Irazu is the tallest volcano in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is Small Country:

Did you know Costa Rica is just a bit smaller than Lake Michigan? The country has 19,730 square miles and Lake Michigan measures 22,394 square miles.  However there are over 800 miles of coastline.

Costa Rica is the Home to More Than Five Percent of the World’s Biodiversity:

Did you know that while Costa Rica only occupies 0.03% of the world’s surface, it has the globe’s highest biodiversity density.  There are more than 500,000 species found within its borders.  Corcovado National Park has been named “the most biological intense place on the planet”.

Butterflies Love Costa Rica:

Did you know Costa Rica contains approximately 90 percent of the butterflies species found in Central America, 66 percent of all net-tropical butterflies, and about 18 percent of all butterfly species in the world? The best part is you can find them all over the country!

Hummingbirds Have Found a Home:

Did you know that of the 338 known species of hummingbirds, around 50 species live in Costa Rica? They can also boast of having one of the smallest hummingbirds, the male scintillant hummingbird, who weighs only two grams!

Where Are the Addresses?:

Did you know Costa Ricans did not use street signs until 2012? Even today, many towns and cities do not use street signs, names or numbers, instead they give directions using landmarks, such as “left-hand turn 100 meters south of the bank”.  It does make it a challenge and a lot of fun, trying to find a new place!

Happy Place Index:

Did you know that Costa Ricans are considered some of the happiest people on earth? The Happy Planet Index uses three criteria – life expectancy, experienced well-being and Ecological Footprint – to determine the overall happiness levels of 151 countries across the earth.  Costa Rica has scored 64.0 vs the US which has scored 37.3.

Pura Vida:

No matter where you are, what you are doing you will constantly hear someone saying “Pura Vida”, this saying can be used as a greeting or to say goodbye.  This saying literally translates to “pure life”, but in Costa Rica this is more than a phrase, it’s truly a state of mind and a philosophy for life.  One thing is for sure, Costa Ricans take every opportunity to life to its fullest!