Costa Rica is one of the most popular countries in the Americas for tourism. This is true for visitors from the United States. There is also a high number of British travelers who choose to visit Costa Rica annually.
Some of them even end up staying and there is a good reason for this. This is simply because Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful and naturally diverse countries on the planet.
You can explore a rainforest and relax on a beach on the same day when you experience the Pura Vida in Costa Rica. The country also strives to protect its natural resources. Costa Rica protects over a quarter of its land by making it national forests.
The country also strives to protect the animals there through a variety of conservational efforts, including one of the most important sea turtle sanctuaries in the world.
If you are in search of a vacation loaded with natural beauty and things to do in nature, Costa Rica is the place to visit. Check out these facts to learn more about the country.
25 Fun Facts About Costa Rica
1. Costa Rica has no army
The country disbanded its army in 1948. It was eliminated after the Costa Rican Civil War. The original Costa Rican army was very poorly funded.
So the insurgent forces won the skirmish in just 44 days. After that, the army was disbanded, so the funding could be used on things like education and medical care.
2. The country is big on renewable energy
Almost 100% of the energy used in Costa Rica is created via a renewable source. It’s not just one source. Multiple sources of renewable energy are used.
These include geothermal, hydro, wind, and solar power. Costa Rica must have one of the smallest carbon footprints on Earth and this effort reflects its other conservational efforts.
3. Costa Rica has a small population
Because a lot of the country is rainforest, only so much of the country is inhabitable. This results in Costa Rica having a population of just over 5 million people.
It is one of the least populated countries in the Americas. If you want to visit somewhere not too crowded, Costa Rica is the place. Most of the country lives in or near San Jose.
4. The national anthem is played every morning
Most radio stations in the country play the country’s national anthem every day at 7 am. This highlights the country’s patriotism, even though they don’t have a military.
Costa Rica also goes all out with celebrations and parades on its Independence Day each year. This may make the government seem more controlling than it is. Costa Rica is a constitutional republic.
5. Costa Rica has provinces
Instead of states, Costa Rica has provinces. There are seven of them. The most important province politically and economically is San Jose. This is where the capital of Costa Rica is.
It is by far the most crowded province in the nation, so avoid it and head to the coast if you are looking for a more serene visit. San Jose is the place to visit if you want to learn about the history and see the museums in Costa Rica.
6. The country was once a Spanish colony
This is something that is common knowledge, but it’s still important to mention it here. Costa Rica was one of the places in the Americas that Christopher Columbus visited.
He landed there in 1502 and Spain controlled the area from that point on. The country first gained independence from Spain in 1821, so it was under Spanish rule for over three centuries.
7. Costa Rica didn’t have to fight for independence
Unlike other countries, Costa Rica didn’t have to engage in war to become independent. They got it when Mexico won the Mexican War of Independence. This is how every country in Central America got the ability to rule themselves.
8. The name is misleading
Costa Rica means “rich coast” in Spanish. This name indicates that the Spanish found a lot of silver and gold when they first started exploring. This actually isn’t true. The riches they found were much more abundant in other places in Central America.
9. Costa Rica is crucial to the coffee industry
Costa produces millions of bags of coffee each year. It doesn’t produce as much as some of its counterparts in South America, but It’s still one of the biggest producers in the world. Coffee is one of Costa Rica’s most significant exports.
10. Much of Costa Rica’s land is national parks
Costa Rica takes a lot of pride in protecting its natural resources. Costa Rica has the most land percentage that is national parks of any country on Earth. On average, countries have 13% of their country taken up by national parks. Costa Rica has over 25%.
11. It turned around deforestation
The nation was one of the worst on Earth when it came to deforestation in the past. This was especially true in the 1970s.
Costa Rica then decided to actively fight against deforestation and start protecting its rainforests. Today, it boasts a 0% rate of deforestation. It has done this since 2012.
12. Don’t ask for a soda
If you want a Coke or a Pepsi, don’t ask for a soda. In Costa Rica this means something entirely different from the United States. Sodas in Costa Rica are essentially small restaurants on the side of the road. They may not be what you asked for, but you should still check them out.
13. Call them Ticos
It’s perfectly acceptable to refer to people from the country as Costa Ricans. The locals use a different word for it, though. They are more commonly known at “Ticos” by the people that live there.
This is because of the local dialect that adds “tico” to a variety of words for no reason. Either way, the people there are extremely happy and friendly, so they won’t get offended.
14. They value education
Costa Ricans value education, specifically literacy. Over 97% of the country can read. That is one of the best rates in the world. It’s also by far the highest rate of literacy in the region.
15. Most of the churches face west
Almost every church in the country of Costa Rica is built so that the door faces west. No one really knows the reasoning or origin behind why this is done.
One guess is that the parishioners face east and are praying towards Jerusalem if this is done. Costa Rica was originally settled by Spain, so most of the churches there are Catholic.
16. Costa Rica has the coolest money
If you are a fan of interesting cash, you have to visit Costa Rica. The money there has some very interesting designs. You will find a Capuchin monkey and a crab hanging out in some bananas on the 5 mil note, for example. The 10 mil note has a sloth. It may not be valuable, but it’s collectible.
17. You can whale watch on a whale tail
Costa Rica has some great whale watching. Inters tingly, one of the best places in the country to do it is on a beach shaped like a whale’s tail. This area is called Bahia Ballena by the locals.
You can find it in the Marino Ballena National Park. This beach has some of the bluest and cleanest waters you will ever see.
18. It’s a wildlife enthusiast’s dream
Travelers looking for biodiversity should look no further than Costa Rica for their next trip. There are over half a million unique species found in the country.
This is largely driven by the fact that the rainforests and national parks are so ardently protected. You could spend years exploring the country and not see everything it has to offer.
19. It’s a birdwatcher’s paradise
There are 900 different types of birds alone in Costa Rica. This makes it a great trip for someone trying to add some new species to their list. You can find almost 200 of them in just the Manuel Antonio National Park.
Some of the most desired birds in Costa Rica include the Scarlet Macaw, the Fiery Billed Aracari, and Toucans.
20. You have to try the Gallo Pinto for breakfast
One of the staple dishes in Costa Rica when it comes to breakfast is Gallo Pinto. This is a rice and beans dish served with a traditional breakfast in the country. The named in Spanish translates to “Spotted Rooster” in English.
Part of visiting a new culture is experiencing their local cuisine and this breakfast dish is a great way to start you day.
21. It could explode at any minute
Ok, that may be a bit dramatic, but there are a lot of volcanoes in Costa Rica. There are over 200 volcanic formations in the country. Of course, not all of them are active.
If you are looking for volcanoes considered active, there are around 100 of those. Don’t worry too much. Even the active volcanoes in Costa Rica have a very low chance of erupting.
22. People live a long time in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is in a “Blue Zone”. This means that a higher number of people there live to be over 100 years old than other regions. This is probably due to the “Pura Vida” people experience while they are there.
The average life expectancy in Costa Rica is 80 years, which is also higher than the worldwide average.
23. It’s great for outdoor activities
The diverse landscape provides a variety of different outdoor activities to visitors. You can zipline through the rainforest. You can also take advantage of some of the best surfing on the planet. Furthermore, you can spend hours hiking and exploring the rich forests.
24. They have been protecting turtles since 1984
The Ostional Wildlife Refuge was opened in 1984. Its purpose is to protect sea turtle nests that are buried in the beaches and is one of the few places turtle eggs can be harvested legally. It has gone a long way towards preventing the poaching of sea turtle eggs in the area.
25. It has had debt problems
Costa Rica has had a lot of issues with its national debt in the past. In fact, the country was the first in the world to default on its debt in 1981. While it is getting better, Costa Rica still has a lot of national debt today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Costa Rica cheap or expensive?
Costa Rica is popular, making it one of the more expensive countries to visit in Central America. It’s still affordable overall. Travelers on any budget can make a trip to Costa Rica work.
What is the best month to go to Costa Rica?
The best time to visit Costa Rica is when the sun is out, and it’s not raining. This season starts in December and runs through March. There really is no bad time of year to visit Costa Rica, though.
What language do they speak in Costa Rica?
The official language in Costa Rica is Spanish. There are some small indigenous populations around the country, so you may hear some indigenous languages. These include Bribri, Cabécar, and Maleku.
What is Costa Rica best known for?
Costa Rica is known for its natural beauty and its biodiversity. It’s also known as a great place to visit in Central America. On top of these, it has one of the most progressive governments in the region.
Is Costa Rica or Hawaii more expensive?
It is cheaper to travel to Costa Rica than Hawaii. The travel costs may be about the same throughout the year. The real difference in cost for Costa Rica comes with the cheaper accommodations.
Over to You — Book Your Trip to Costa Rica Today!
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for – book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Costa Rica has to offer. Happy travels!