Why is Costa Rica one of the top 25 destinations to visit in 2016. It is an extraordinary country in Central America that lies majestically between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, with incredibly landscape, towering volcanoes, beautiful beaches, remote jungle forests and peninsulas that make it unique to the other Central American Countries to see and experience.
The ecosystems within Costa Rica can be attributed to its location between two continents, as well as it numerous micro climates, which vary by elevation among the countries mountainous and volcanic landscapes. The Continental Divide runs through the country’s interior and weather patterns from both the Pacific and Caribbean sweep across the divide’s. The northern regions of the country tend to be arid and have dry tropical forest. In the South, lush tropical jungles are created from high precipitation levels. The green season starts in May – December and the dry season starts in December – Aprils. Weather along the Pacific coast tends to follow these patterns, however the Caribbean can receive rain through the year.
Costa Rica is more than a vacation destination; it is a soft adventure experience within the landscape, the people, the culture and the multiple species of animals, birds, insects and aquatic wildlife. The country is blessed with a vast array of biodiversity and environmental attractions – majestic volcanoes, misty cloud forests, stunning river valleys and hundreds of beaches along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Costa Rica carries a fascinating ecological story, woven into the history of a peaceful and family-oriented culture.
Costa Rica remains one the safest country in Central America and there are few travel requirements to enter the country. There are hundreds of activities to see and do from day excursions into the rainforests, volcanoes, rivers and waterfalls to surfing, swimming, snorkeling, diving and fishing off the coastal waters of the Pacific or Caribbean. Here you can observe the countries natural resources, all protected by a consolidated National System of Protected Areas, including biological reserves, national parks, forest reserves, and wildlife refuges.
Travelers planning a vacation to Costa Rica should be aware of a few import tips to help you prepare for a great vacation.
- It rains year round in Costa Rica, and visitors should be sure to bring a light rain jacket or poncho.
- Costa Rica busy season – Christmas and New Years, as well as the week leading up to Easter Sunday.
- Clean tap water can generally be found throughout the country and in most tourist destinations. Additionally, most visitors find that they are free to enjoy the local food without serious repercussions on their stomachs.
- Costa Rica’s currency is the colon. U.S. dollars are widely accepted, provided the bill is not too large ($50 and $100 bills are rarely accepted) and in good condition. Hotels and tours generally list their prices in dollars.
- Road conditions throughout the country are unpredictable. With the tropical climate and mountainous terrain, many roads are difficult to maintain, and many have never been paved. Relatively short distances can take many hours due to poor road conditions or traffic, and some roads are simply inaccessible during the rainy season when rivers swell. Geography
- Costa Rica is bordered by both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, with Panama to the south and Nicaragua to the north. The country’s total area is 51,100 sq km (19,730 sq mi), slightly smaller than the U.S. state of West Virginia. Costa Rica’s terrain varies between coastal plains and rugged mountains. Three mountain ranges run through the country and there are over 100 volcanic cones, several of which are major volcanoes. The highest point is Cerro Chirripo, which rises to 3,810 meters (12,500 ft) in the Chirripo National Park.
- Costa Rican society is rooted in family, education, health. Ticos and Ticas (male and female Costa Ricans, respectively) have a sustained commitment to healthy personal relationships and stewardship of the natural environment. This emphasis on creating symbiotic relationships with the environment and tourism, particularly in the last 40 years has set a profound example, and it has allowed a fascinating model of development to take root.
- Costa Rica has been a peaceful democracy without a military for more than 60 years. Costa Rica is often referred to as the Switzerland of Central America that offers free education through the 11th grade as well as health care for all citizens. Costa Rica enjoys a high standard of living with the highest regional literacy rate (96%) and an average life expectancy of 78 years. Costa Rica’s long-term vision and investment in the health of its people has also paid off with many foreign businesses drawn to its qualified work force, stability, and proximity to the United States.
- In addition to generous social policies, Costa Rica has enacted progressive conservation efforts that have drastically reversed the deforestation that ravaged its land for decades. The country’s system of national parks and reserves protects approximately 25% of the country, a percentage that sits among the highest in the world.
- Living up to environmental virtues and sustainable development remains a constant battle throughout the country, whether due to lucrative contract offers, corrupt politics, or illegal poaching and logging. Nevertheless, Costa Rica has largely resisted opportunities to exploit its vast natural resources for valued commodities, despite having a high density of precious metals in the South Pacific, oil along the Pacific Coast, and rare hardwoods in the rainforest. Instead, Costa Rica has opted for an ethic of sustainable development and a commitment to develop renewable energy. Already, Costa Rica is on track to become the first carbon-neutral country, with 99% of the country’s energy needs meet through a combination of geothermal, hydroelectric, and wind power.
- Costa Rica is a small country that encompasses just 0.03% of the world’s land mass. With over 500,000 plant and animal species, Costa Rica is one of the planets most biologically dense countries. According to Costa Rica’s National Biodiversity Institute (INBio), the biodiversity in Costa Rica represents close to 4% of the total species on Earth.