Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Things to do - general

Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica (Spanish: Costa Rica or República de Costa Rica), is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 4.5 million, of whom nearly a quarter live in the metropolitan area of the capital and largest city, San José.

Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous people before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century. It remained a peripheral colony of the empire until independence as part of the short-lived First Mexican Empire, followed by membership in the United Provinces of Central America, from which it formally declared sovereignty in 1847. Since then, Costa Rica has remained among the most stable, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America. Following a brief but bloody civil war, it permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming the first of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army.

Costa Rica has consistently performed favorably in the Human Development Index (HDI), placing 62nd in the world as of 2012, among the highest of any Latin American nation. It has also been cited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as having attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, with a better record on human development and inequality than the median of the region. Its rapidly developing economy, once heavily dependent on agriculture, has diversified to include sectors such as finance, pharmaceuticals, and ecotourism.

– Wikipedia

CountryCosta Rica
CapitalSan José
Population~ 4,600,000
LanguageSpanish
CurrencyColon
Area51,100 km2 (9,653 sq mi)
Entry Visa

Given at the border

Nature & Wild Life

Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals. While the country has only about 0.1% of the world's landmass, it contains 5% of the world's biodiversity. Around 25% of the country's land area is in protected national parks and protected areas, the largest percentage of protected areas in the world (developing world average 13%, developed world average 8%). Costa Rica has successfully managed to diminish deforestation from some of the worst rates in the world from 1973 to 1989, to almost zero by 2005.



Over 840 species of birds have been identified in Costa Rica. As is the case in much of Central America, the avian species in Costa Rica are a mix of North and South American species. The country's abundant fruit trees, many of which bear fruit year round, are hugely important to the birds, some of whom survive on diets that consist only of one or two types of fruit. Some of the country's most notable avian species include the resplendent quetzal, scarlet macaw, three-wattled bellbird, bare-necked umbrellabird, and the keel-billed toucan. The Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad is allowed to collect royalties on any biological discoveries of medical importance. Costa Rica is a center of biological diversity for reptiles and amphibians, including the world's fastest running lizard, the spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis).

Government image

Government

Costa Rica is composed of seven provinces, which in turn are divided into 81 cantons (Spanish: cantón, plural cantones), each of which is directed by a mayor. Mayors are chosen democratically every four years by each canton. There are no provincial legislatures. The cantons are further divided into 473 districts (distritos).

Culture and history image

Culture & History

Historians have classified the indigenous people of Costa Rica as belonging to the Intermediate Area, where the peripheries of the Mesoamerican and Andean native cultures overlapped. More recently, pre-Columbian Costa Rica has also been described as part of the Isthmo-Colombian Area.



The oldest evidence of human occupation in Costa Rica is associated with the arrival of various groups of hunter-gatherers at about 10,000 to 7,000 years BCE, with ancient archaeological evidence (stone tool making) located in the Turrialba Valley. There was presence of Clovis culture type spearheads and arrows from South America, which opens the possibility that in this area two different cultures coexisted.



Agriculture became evident in the populations that lived in Costa Rica about 5,000 years ago. They mainly grew tubers and roots (like carrots). For the first and second millennia BCE there were already settled farming communities. These were small and scattered, although the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture as the main livelihood in the territory is still unknown.



The earliest use of pottery known appears around 2,000 to 3,000 BCE. Shards of pots, cylindrical vases, platters, gourds and other forms of vases decorated with grooves, prints, and some modeled after animals have been found.

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