Costa Rica is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Americas. This tropical paradise boasts great beaches, rain forests, mountains, people and culture. It's no wonder this small Central American country is one of the tourism powerhouses of the Americas.
Costa Rica has the unique character in that it does not have any military. That is the ultimate sign of a peaceful nation. Costa Rica's are known as "Ticos" and they're know throughout Latin America as being people who are very positive, friendly and full of life. In Costa Rica, the national catch phrase of the people and the country is "pura vida," which translates to "pure life."
Costa Rica has many famous beaches. Some beaches attract surfers from all over the world while others attract tourists and locals. Costa Rica has the benefit of having both a Pacific and Atlantic coast giving it plenty of beaches to pick from. The beaches of Costa Rica have something for everyone. Some beaches have nice waves for surfers, while other like Jacob beach have a party atmosphere, while others just have pristine waters for people that just like to enjoy a nice calm swim on a beautiful beach.
The rain forest is the most valuable and special part about this country. Being so narrow and located between two oceans in the tropics means that the rain is abundant. There are many conservation efforts within the country by the local government and foreign investors. You may NOT cut down a tree in Costa Rica anymore and you may not even take fallen trees from within the habitat without proper permission from the state. The Guanacaste region was deforested for farming and now they suffer drought causing the forest to become dry. Now about 25% of the country is protected land. One of Costa Rica's benefits is that it's so mall and has different kinds of environments in close proximacy. If you were willing to travel, you could be at the sunny beach at 9am in Guanacaste (northwest), at 1pm in a tropical rainforest with hot springs in San Carlos (north), at 3pm in the capital San Jose with a mild weather ( March, center), and at 5pm in cold mountain temperature (5 Celsius) in Cartago (east).
Costa Rica is considered to be one of the 20 countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world. Its geographical position, its two coasts and its mountainous system, which provides numerous and varied microclimates, are some of the reasons that explain this natural wealth, both in terms of species and ecosystems. The more than 500,000 species that are found in this small country represent nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide. Of these 500,000 species, just over 300,000 are insects.
When Costa Ricans are done celebrating the Christmas and New Year holidays, they have yet another party to look forward to: The Palmares fiestas, one of Costa Rica's most anticipated traditional celebrations. Palmares, a small town between Alajuela and San Ramon, is known for hosting the best fiestas and toope (horse parade) in the country. During the second half of January, Palmares becomes the focal point for many locales. Each year, the Palmares fiestas begin the second week of January and continue through the month with a series of events planned by the Asociacion Civica Palmarena. These include concerts, fireworks, sports activities, "chinamo" tents with alcohol and food, the toros a la Tica (Costa Rican-style bullfighting) and a traditional horse parade.