While you might know that Costa Rica is a small country in the southern portion of Central America, you may not realize the rich history that abounds there, or the ecologically diverse wildlife living there, or the incredible number of sights to see.
Similar to the state of Florida in the US geographically, it features two long coastlines as well as several tiny islands primarily located on the side of the Pacific Ocean. Costa Rica only spans a distance of approximately 200 miles in length and a mere 70 miles at its narrowest part occupying about 20,000 square miles in area.
Bordering the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Atlantic on the east, it is home to 20 national parks, eight biological reserves, and a plethora of protected areas teeming with fascinating and exotic flora and fauna. And, if you're looking for adventure, in the northwestern portion of the country, the Guanacaste Province is chock full of stunning sights and exciting activities.
This area draws visitors by the droves thanks to its beaches, rivers, volcanoes, and waterfalls, not to mention all of the wildlife living here, some of which cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. Guanacaste, which derives its name from the native word for the guanacaste tree, quahnacaztlan, is the national tree of Costa Rica and this particular region is the ranked in all of the country receiving less than a scant 55 inches of rain per year.
There are only has two seasons, dry or wet, and unlike many other areas of Central and South America, stays pleasant all year long.
High season, or the dry season, is from December through April, and green or wet season lasts from May to November. The tropical climate of Costa Rica averages about 72 degrees Fahrenheit although it can be considerably hotter in the coastal or beach areas and much cooler in the mountainous regions.
10 Facts About Costa Rica
1. The capital of Costa Rica is San Jose, a city with just over one million in population.
2. It follows Central Standard Time or six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time and there is no daylight savings time in the country.
3. Bananas and coffee are the two primary agricultural exports from Costa Rica.
4. The most popular sport is soccer.
5. The democratic government of Costa Rica is the oldest of any Third World country and it is often referred to as "The Switzerland of the Americas."
6. In 1986 the first Costa Rican / American, Franklin Ramón Díaz Chang, traveled to outer space aboard the space shuttle Columbia.
7. The current president of Costa Rica, Óscar Rafael de Jesús Arias Sánchez, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 due to his great efforts to promote peace throughout the Central Americas.
8. It claims five percent of the earth's biodiversity, making it home to one of the richest ecosystems anywhere.
9. It boasts one of the world's highest life expectancy rates at 77 years.
10. People from many other countries travel to it explicitly for receiving quality, low cost health care.