Info about Costa Rica

Costa Rica – the happiest country on earth

In 2009, Costa Rica was crowned the world’s happiest country in a survey by Happy Planet Index and its research team from England.

A trip to Costa Rica is a memory for life. The lush nature, the glorious beaches, the enormous wildlife and, not least, the hospitable population make Costa Rica an exotic and grand destination. Join us on our travels and experience the country’s incredible diversity and wealth!

The first thing to learn before coming to Costa Rica is the greeting phrase PURA VIDA! Directly translated, it means pure life. Pura Vida is used as a greeting phrase or in answers to questions regarding well-being. The Costa Ricansarevery happy and pleasant and a topic that is always popular here is the World Cup in 1990 when Costa Rica beat Sweden in with 2-1 and Hernan Medford became national hero when he made both the Costa Ricangoals.

Costa Rica is a small country, just 51,100 square kilometres, approximately one ninth of Sweden. Costa Rica’s population is almost half as big as Sweden’s, about 4.5 million. More than half of the population resides in the capital San Jose (with suburbs). San Jose is located in the middle of the country at about 1200 meters above sea level. Here is also the largest international airport, Juan Santamaria. The country lies only 10 degrees north of the equator and borders Nicaragua in the north and Panama in the south, the Pacific Ocean lies to the west of the country and the Caribbean Sea to the east. The country has a total of 1 290 kilometres of coastline so there is no shortage of beaches. Across the country high mountains and volcanoes reach for the sky as a small part of the great mountain range, the Andean-Sierra Madre. These altitude differences in combination with the two oceans give Costa Rica an infinite variety of different climates and natural conditions. There are 12 different microclimates or “forest types”. In total, the country contains 5% of the world’s plant life and 6% of all the world’s animal species and about 10% of all bird species. Costa Rica has only two seasons, dry season from December to April and rainy season from May to November. The temperature is around 20-32°C, with variations depending on the season and height differences. The highest temperatures are at the end of the dry season. However, the temperature in Costa Rica is relatively even year-round, mostly affected by how high you are above sea level with the highest temperature far down and then it drops 4-7°C per thousand meters. Costa Rica abolished the military in 1948 after a short civil war to prioritize the construction of its country. This has led to Costa Rica being the most well-developed country in Central America in terms of high level of education, well-developed infrastructure and low crime rates.

Costa Rican cuisine is tasty and mildly seasoned with salt, pepper, coriander, garlic and lime as main spices.

The national dish is Gallo pinto (literallytranslated “spottedrooster”), a dishconsistingofrice and black or red beansseasonedwithfinelychoppedonions, garlic, peppers and coriander. Gallo pinto is a typical Costa Rican breakfast and is usually served with eggs and sourcream. The rice and beansare the main ingredient of all meals during the day butare differently cooked, served with meat, chicken or fish and always with plenty of vegetables.

Ceviche is another very popular dish. It is lime-marinated fish that is seasoned with onions and coriander – “Costa Rican herring”. Fish and shellfish are cheap here compared to Sweden and along the coasts it is served daily fresh and wonderfully good. For dessert, fresh fruit often comes out on the table.

Costa Rica is a great producer of coffee. You can buy coffee from here all over the world, including in Sweden. The Costa Ricans themselves drink their coffee very weak with a lot of milk and sugar. But if you brew it yourself or ask for extra strong coffee then you will have a wonderful good coffee that is both freshly roasted and ground.

The adventures in Costa Rica are many and are adapted for all ages, Canopy (zip lining) up in the tree tops in the middle of the rainforest can case a tickle to the stomach for most people. Pulling up a fish that weighs more than yourself usually also produces that feeling and to end the day by going back to the harbour on the Pacific Ocean in the sunset while accompanied by dolphins usually does not ruin one’s mood. Sunbathing and swimming on one of the many fine beaches is always lovely, but why not try to surf for a day on the beach as a variety? We have good surf instructors who will help you with everything so that you can master the waves. If you would like to take it a little easier, then maybe a trip to a volcanic spa is a better idea?

Useful links:

Visit Costa Rica
General information about Costa Rica

Book tip:

Costa Rica”from Eyewitness travel guides.
Author: Christopher P Baker
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Ltd