It’s Monday morning and the snow is falling outside the office window. Your co-worker just returned home from their vacation to Costa Rica with a nice tan and a huge smile. She can’t stop talking about all of the amazing experiences she had. This isn’t the first time someone has raved to you about their fascination with this tropical paradise! By now you’re ready to book a flight and pack your bags.
Before you arrive in paradise we’d like to help you to get to know this small – yet impressive – nation a little bit better.
Back to Basics
Let’s start with the basics. Costa Rica is located in Central America and is bordered by Nicaragua to the north. Panama is to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. With a size of approximately 51,100 square kilometers, Costa Rica is roughly the size of the U.S. state of West Virginia. The population is estimated to be about 4.6 million people. The official language is Spanish, and the second most common language is English.
Geography is Key
Costa Rica is made up of 7 provinces: San Jose, Heredia, Alajuela, Cartago, Limon, Guanacaste and Puntarenas. The first 4 provinces listed comprise the Central Valley, while Limon makes up the Caribbean coast. Guanacaste and Puntarenas run along the Pacific Coast. The Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) is actually located in the province of Alajuela, and not in San Jose. While not far in distance from San Jose (about 15-20 km), the drive can take anywhere from 30 minutes or more, depending on traffic. Costa Rica’s other international airport, the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, is located in Liberia in Guanacaste.
While many people know that Costa Rica is located in the tropics, you may be surprised to hear that Costa Rica actually has 12 different microclimates. This is partially due to the varied types of terrain that can be found across the country. From valleys to plains to mountains and coastline, Costa Rica is constantly changing. It is also home to a large number of volcanoes, some of which are currently active.
The country has only two seasons; dry season and rainy season. Most of the country experiences dry season from about December or January through April. The Caribbean, however, follows its own unique weather patterns. If you are hoping to visit the Caribbean, September and October are usually the months with the least rain. February to June are the second best!
Some of the larger industries in Costa Rica include tourism and the exportation of electronic components, coffee, bananas, pineapple, and more.
Costa Rica is a democratic republic that abolished its army in 1949. Much of the funding previously used for the armed forces was re-invested in health care and education.
The country is often known for its tradition of peace, democracy, respect for human rights, and it’s ever-popular motto of “Pura Vida!”
These are several of the general facts about the beautiful nation of Costa Rica. Watch for more blogs – we hope to show even more of this stunning place we call home.
Hasta pronto, amigos!