About Costa Rica

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About Costa Rica
Costa Rica, which literally means rich coast, used to be a well-kept secret known mostly to biologists, jungle explorers, and surfers. Hey Dude! Today however, the country is a major tourist destination, yet it remains a place rich in natural wonders. The lower-than-the-Caribbean prices will elate travelers on modest budgets.   

While tourism has been on an upswing, you can still find undisturbed beaches and small lodgings like our Villa that aren't your typical overpriced tourist traps that spoil the natural beauty. At our Villa, it's not hard to find pristine beauty all around you, but there are also plenty of attractions and activities to satisfy the whole family (visit our Things to Do page for a listing of area activities).   

Overview

Costa Rica is a democratic republic, and a Central American success story. The standard of living is relatively high and 94% of the population is literate. The vast majority of the inhabitants descend from Spanish and European colonists and are known for their friendly nature.

Costa Rica celebrated its 100th anniversary of democracy in 1989. The army was abolished In 1948 by a new Constitution championed by Jose Figueres Ferrer. Since then, Costa Rica has had no army, and the new constitution forbids the creation of one.

Costa Rica is readily accessed by land, sea, and air. Visitors from Canada, United States, Mexico and the rest of the Latin American countries can travel overland to Costa Rica year-round via the InterAmerican Highway, or may travel to Costa Rica by air or sea.

Vitals

Population
  • 3,710,558 (July 2000 estimate)

    Ethnicity

    • 94% White and Mestizo
    • 3% Black
    • 1% Amerindian
    • 1% Chinese

    Religions

    • 85% Roman Catholic
    • 14% Evangelical
    • 1% Others Religions

    Languages

    • Spanish (official)
    • English (widespread) Climate
    • 1% Others Languages

    Climate

    Tropical - Year round averages of a low of 59°F to a high of 86°F.

    Terrain

    • Coastal plains/beaches on two sides
    • Rugged mountains
    • Rainforests/Jungles
    • Agricultural lands
    • Rivers

    Size

    • 31,620 sq. mi. - about the size of West Virginia in the United States. Over 11% of this is part of the National Parks system.

    Capital

    • San Jose

    Provinces

    • Alajuela
    • Cartago
    • Guanecaste, where our Villa is.
    • Heredia
    • Limon
    • Puntarenas

    San Jose Economy

    Costa Rica's basically stable economy depends on tourism, agriculture, and electronics exports. Poverty has been substantially reduced over the past 15-20 years and a strong social safety net has been established, due in part, to no military budget or interests; plus investments in education, telecommunications, health, energy, and modernization.

    Currency

    • Colón
    • Exchange rate approximately 310 colones to $1.00 (US)
    Transportation
    • 590 miles of railways
    • 23,165 miles of roads
    • 28 airports
    • Many types of rental transportation is available from boats to 4-wheel drives to horses.
    Biodiversity
    • 130 species of freshwater fish
    • 160 species of amphibians
    • 208 species of mammals
    • 220 species of reptiles
    • 850 species of birds
    • 1,000 species of butterflies
    • 1,200 varieties of orchids
    • 10,000 species of plants and trees
    • 34,000 species of insects
    • Coral reefs
    • Cloud forests
    • Deciduous forests
    • Rain forests
    • Tropical dry forests
    • Mangrove swamps
    • Volcanoes (112 craters)
    • Canal networks through jungles
    • Elevations from sea level to 12,529 feet
    • White, black, and pink shell beaches on both coasts
    • Extensive networks of rivers

    The Government

    The Constitution guarantees all citizens legal equality, freedom of expression, of meeting, of press, and the right to form organizations; it also guarantees these rights to all foreigners living in Costa Rica, except the right to vote. The Constitution prohibits the establishment of an army.

    The political structure is divided into three main branches: the Legislative Branch made up of 57 Congressmen, popularly elected to a 4 year term; the Executive Branch includes the President, two Vice-Presidents and 18 Ministers, whose Ministries form the Presidential Cabinet; and the Judicial Branch which includes the Supreme Court of Justice, 4 Appeals Courts, and the Criminal, Civil and Special Courts. Each Branch is independent, but they have a checks and balances system similar to that of the United States.

    Elections take place every four years; the President, Congressmen and Municipal Representatives are then popularly chosen. The Constitution prohibits presidential reelection.

    Playa Hermosa Our Villa is located in Playa Hermosa, marked with a red star on the map of Costa Rica.

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    Costa Rica

    For those that don't know, this shows where Costa Rica is in relation to other countries in the western hemisphere.


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