Are you looking forward to spending this vacation in Costa Rica alongside the beautiful beaches? If yes, you should know a few things about the country before visiting! There are also many misconceptions about Costa Rica, so it’s better to clear those out before your trip.
Here, we have compiled a few common and exciting facts about Costa Rica. Also, if you’re visiting for the first time, you might find our Leona Waterfall Guide to visit Costa Rica helpful. So, you can check that out as well!
Costa Rica is not an island but a part of Central America!
If you don’t know much about Costa Rica, then you might wonder where this country is.
This small yet fascinating country is a part of Central America. Neighboring it on the North is Nicaragua, and on the south is Panama. It’s situated on the Isthmus of Panama and shares its coasts with the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
Also, Costa Rica is neither a part of the United States nor is associated with Puerto Rico. It’s been an independent country since 1821. And it finally had an established democratic government after 1869.
Costa Rica is almost the same size as Slovakia.
Costa Rica has an area of 51,100 km² that’s about the same size as Slovakia. It has uneven mountain ranges covering the narrow Pacific coastal area. These mountains cut the country from northwest to southeast. Overall, Costa Rica is a bit larger than Denmark.
San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica.
Located in the San Jose province, San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica. It also lies on the world’s list of the first few cities to have electricity.
Whenever tourists land in the city, they leave in a day or two as it’s not much of a tourist place. The country is mainly famous for its nature and outdoor activities, which isn’t here in the city. However, if you want to experience the daily city lifestyle and learn Costa Rica history and culture, you can spend a few days in San Jose.
Costa Rica’s local language is Spanish.
The country’s official language is Spanish. It’s widely spoken among the locals with their distinct Costa Rican accent. Moreover, you’ll find that most of the citizens are bilingual in the country as many locals work in the tours and travel sector.
Costa Ricans school often start teaching English and French in the elementary grade. So, if you’re visiting the country as an English speaker, it’s unlikely for you to face many problems while conversing. Still, you might have to learn a few simple Spanish words if you have special needs like medical conditions, dietary restrictions, etc.
Costa Rica has a small population of over 5 million people.
As of March 2022, the country has 5,172,500 Costa Ricans residing. Out of which, more than 1 million people live and work in the Central Valley.
The Costa Rican currency is as beautiful as its land.
Named after Christopher Colombus (Spanish name- Cristobal Colon), the official currency of Costa Rica is Colon.
It’s colorful and gives you a glimpse of Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity. On every denomination of the Costa Rican cash, you’ll get to see a landscape and an animal. These include the capuchin monkey, sloth, white-tailed deer, and blue morpho butterfly.
Costa Rica has a democratic government.
On the 6th of February 2022, general elections were held in the country to elect the president alongside the two vice-presidents. However, none of the presidential nominees managed to get even 40% of the votes. Hence, the second election round is scheduled for the 3rd of April 2022. The two nominees who obtained the most votes will partake in this round. They are probably José María Figueres and Rodrigo Chaves Robles. Before this, Carlos Alvarado Quesada was elected as the president of Costa Rica in 2018.
Costa Rica has had no military since 1949.
After the constitution’s establishment in 1949, Costa Rica proudly abolished their army. It means that the country has had no army since then!
If you’re in the capital city and want to know more about this, you can visit the National Museum. The museum serves as the symbol of the army’s abolition.
Catholicism and Christianity are the major religions of the country.
Half of the citizens in Costa Rica define themselves as Roman Catholics, while the other half follow Christianity.
Tourists can visit the gorgeous basilica in the city of Cartago. It was built in 1639 but was partially destroyed due to an earthquake. Moreover, it serves as the site for the yearly pilgrimage in August.
The natives call themselves Ticos and Ticas.
This affectionate name for Costa Ricans came from their habit of using tiny suffixes like tico and tica with Spanish words while talking. Even their accent is a bit different from the other Spanish-speaking countries.
Visit the beach that has the shape of a whale’s tail only in Costa Rica.
The Whale Bay or Bahía Ballena has a beach popular among tourists. The interesting fact about it is that it resembles the shape of a whale’s tail when seen from the sky. Here, tourists also visit to watch the humpback whales during the migration season from mid-July to mid-November and mid-December to April.
Costa Rica has five spectacular active volcanoes.
Costa Rica is along the Ring of Fire with over 200 distinct volcanic formations. However, it only has five active volcanoes- Rincon de la Vieja, Arenal, Irazu, Poas, and Turrialba. The rest of the volcanoes of Costa Rica are all extinct. Also, out of these five, only Paos and Irazu are open for tourists.
Costa Rica has one of the top five Blue Zones in the world.
Located on Costa Rica’s Western coast, Nicoya is a town that falls under top five Blue Zones in the world. It means that the inhabitants here tend to live actively even past the age of 100.
Costa Rica has seven different provinces.
There are about seven provinces in Costa Rica, including San Jose, Alajuela, Guanacaste, Puntarenas, Heredia, Cartago, and Limon. These seven provinces have 81 cantons and 473 districts. Out of these, Guanacaste is extremely popular among international tourists. If it’s your first time in Costa Rica, then you can take help from our Leona Waterfall Tours services to make the best out of your trip.
Costa Rica is known for its rich biodiversity.
Accounting for 5% of the Earth’s total biodiversity, Costa Rica makes the perfect travel destination for wildlife lovers. About 25% of the country’s land is covered with national parks, reserves, and refugees. Moreover, it has about twelve different life and climate zones.
Besides, the country is home to a variety of animals. These include 150 amphibian species, 200 reptile species, 200 mammal species, 850 avian species, and 35,000 different insect species.
Costa Rica uses renewable energy as its main source of electricity.
About 99% of Costa Rica’s electricity generates from renewable energy sources. These include solar, wind, biomass, hydropower, and geothermal energy.
Cerro Chirripo is the highest point in Costa Rica.
At the height of 3,810 m, Mount Chirripo is the highest mountain in Costa Rica. It’s also a well-known National Park, so many tourists like to trek to the summit.
Irazu, at 3,432 m, is the highest active volcano in Costa Rica.
Located at the height of 3,432 m, Irazu volcano has various craters. Visitors can also go to the national park of the location and enjoy the beauty of the famous crater lake.
The technological services are advanced in Costa Rica.
Many big international companies like Amazon and Dell set up their customer service centers in Costa Rica. According to them, Costa Ricans speak almost fluent English. Moreover, their salaries are also less than in other countries like USA or Canada. Therefore, you’ll find many Costa Ricans working in these centers.
The exports and trading services account for 40% of its GDP.
Costa Rica still depends on its agricultural exports for a major portion of its economy. The most exported agricultural products are sugar, coffee, banana, and beef. Although the quantity of these goods might not be sufficient when compared to other countries, the quality is the finest of its kind.
Costa Rica has banned recreational hunting.
Costa Rica was the first American country to ban recreational hunting in 2012. Only indigenous groups are legally allowed to hunt in the country.
Costa Rica has always been an ideal vacation destination, especially for nature lovers. With a varied climate, amazing landscapes, and a range of flora and fauna, it attracts thousands of tourists every year. Even the country’s inhabitants are loving and welcoming towards their tourists. They make sure you enjoy every bit of your vacation!
In this article, we tried to list a few interesting facts about Costa Rica that might help you increase your knowledge about the country. So, what are you waiting for? Plan your trip to Costa Rica today!