50 Fascinating Facts about Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a small country that is located in Central America. It is bordered by Nicaragua to its north, Panama to its south, the Caribbean Sea to its east and the Pacific Ocean to its west. The country has a population of 4.5 million, and its capital city of San Jose is home to approximately 300,000 citizens. Costa Rica has a total area of 19,653 square miles (51,100 square kilometers). The official language of the country is Spanish, but Mekatelyu and Bribri are both recognized indigenous languages. The country does not recognize any religion as an official religion, and instead is recognized as a secular state. Costa Rica utilizes the Costa Rican colon as its currency. Its flag is a horizontal flag that is comprised of five stripes; two blue and white stripes border a larger red stripe on the flag. The country’s coat of arms is located on the left side of the flag.

Costa Rica Facts

1
Costa Rica has a unitary presidential constitutional republic with a President and two Vice Presidents.
2
Their total nominal GDP is estimated to be $45.1 billion, and their total nominal per capita GDP is $9,672.
3
Costa Rica is still considered a developing country by the World Bank, and still has many economic downfalls.
4
The country has a poverty rate of 23% and an 8% unemployment rate.
5
Costa Rica’s main exports include coffee, bananas, sugar, cattle and cocoa. Their main imports include mining goods, transportation equipment and fuel.
6
Costa Ricans refer to themselves as Ticos (males) and Ticas (females).
7
Over 25% of Costa Rica’s land is set aside for national parks and refuges.
8
Costa Ricans have one of the highest life expectancies in the world. On average, they live until their late 70s.
9
The country has a 96% literacy rate. In areas that are poor and very rural, children often can’t afford to go to school, so the country set up a school system that can be listened to over the radio. These children learn all of the same lessons over the radio as kids do who attend school.
10
Pregnant women are referred to as being ‘con luz’ which translates into ‘with light.
11
Easter Week is known as Semana Santa in Costa Rica. During this week people visit the beach, relax with their family, attend church and have many religious celebrations.
12
Christmas is celebrated with family in Costa Rica. On Christmas Eve it is traditional to stay up with your family until midnight and eat a large feast. Christmas is celebrated by exchanging gifts and going to church
13
Hospitality is abundant in the country. Tourists who stay in the country for weeks can get to know the locals, and will probably be invited to family dinners and celebrations.
14
Due to the large number of tourists from the United States who visit Costa Rica each year, English is raising in popularity. It is now the most common second language spoken in the country.
15
Art is a thriving part of Costa Rica’s society. They have many museums that tourists frequent, and have many street sculptures that dot the streets of the prominent cities.
16
Pura Vida is the national saying of Costa Rica, and it translates into pure life. Costa Ricans use the saying to wish someone good will, say goodbye and ask someone how they are doing.
17
The average salary of a Costa Rican is $6,000 US dollars per year.
18
Women do not take their husband’s last name when they get married. Instead, the woman uses her maiden name throughout her entire life. Children will take the last name of their fathers.
19
Milk is sold in a plastic bag, not in a carton.
20
Almost every Catholic church in the country faces west.
21
Tourism is the country's main source of foreign exchange. This position was previously held by the production and sale of bananas.
22
One-quarter of Costa Rica's land is protected.
23
Costa Rica is the only Central American country that does not have a standing army.
24
Costa Rica has over 100 volcanic formations, and seven of those are active. Arenal Volcano is one of the world's most active volcanoes.
25
Costa Rica has become known for its beautiful beaches. The country has over 800 miles of coastline along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.
26
The average wage for workers in Costa Rica is about $10 per day. While this may seem low, this is actually the highest average wage in Central America.
27
Less than 1% of the population consists of indigenous natives. 94% of the Costa Rican population is European or mestizo.
28
Costa Rica is home to about 34,000 different species of insects. The country is also home to about 20,000 different types of spiders.
29
Like the United States, Costa Rica holds elections for its presidency every four years.
30
The country is just about the size of Lake Michigan. Despite its small size, 5% of the world's biodiversity can be found here.
31
Street names aren't used in Costa Rica. Instead, businesses and residences are identified in relation to their proximity to landmarks. In 2012, some cities, including capital San Jose, began using signs to make traveling around the city easier for tourists.
32
Rice and beans are a big part of the diets of Costa Ricans. Both ingredients are used for a common breakfast food known as gallo pinto.
33
Over 75% of Costa Ricans identify as being Catholic.
34
Spanish colonists premanently settled in Costa Rica in 1561.
35
Though Costa Rica was settled in 1561, the land was first discovered and named by Christopher Columbus in 1502.
36
The country's constitution was signed in 1949.
37
Current Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís won the 2014 election by 77% -- the largest margin to date.
38
The national anthem of Costa Rica is played daily on most radio stations at 7 AM.
39
The country has 615 animal species per 10,000 square miles. This is very high when compared to the United States, which has just over 100.
40
In-vitro fertilization has been completely banned in Costa Rica since 2000. It is the only country in the world to fully ban the medical procedure.
41
Over 2 million visitors annually come to see all that Costa Rica has to offer, including its beautiful beaches, thriving city nightlife, and happy residents.
42
Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world that has had a female president. Laura Chincilla served as president of Costa Rica from 2010 until 2014.
43
Costa Rica is often referred to as a hummingbird capital. The country has about 52 native species of hummingbirds.
44
Hummingbirds aren't the only flying creatures found in Costa Rica. This country is also home to about 10% of the world's butterflies.
45
Nicaraguans make up approximately three-quarters of the country's foreign population.
46
Four UNESCO World Heritage sites are located in Costa Rica: La Amistad National Park, Cocos Island National Park, Area de Conservacion Guanacaste and the Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements.
47
The Happy Planet Index has determined that Costa Ricans are some of the happiest people in the world.
48
Costa Rica banned recreational hunting in 2012. It was the first country in the world to ban this practice.
49
The country is on track to becoming carbon neutral by the year 2021.
50
Costa Rica is the 13th largest exporter of coffee in the world. Coffee is known as "grano de oro" -- or "grain of gold" -- in this country.

Costa Rica is a tropical country that is a very popular tourist spot. Many people from the United States visit Costa Rica each year, and even retire there. The country is still a developing country, but is slowly starting to make more money and profit from its exports and tourism industry. Costa Rica is a wonderful place to visit and is home to relaxing and hospitable people who work hard to enjoy life.

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