I can’t believe that in just a few short weeks I’ll be going to Costa Rica! One of the most popular travel destinations in the world, Costa Rica is renowned for its unspoiled natural beauty and breathtaking scenery. Tucked between Nicaragua and Panama on the Central American isthmus, Costa Rica also enjoys two scenic coastlines with the Pacific Ocean to the west and Caribbean Sea to the east.
Many visitors are drawn to the small country for eco-tourism, that is; responsible travel that promotes the conservation of the environment and the wellbeing of the local people. In fact, Costa Rica is so dedicated to the environment that it plans on being the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2021.
1) Peaceful Costa Rica is one of the few nations that does not have an army. Abolished in 1949 by then-president José Figueres Ferrer, the country only maintains a Fuerza Pública (Public Force) for ground security, law enforcement, and border patrol functions. Should anything major occur, however, the United States is committed to protecting the country.
2) Nearly all Catholic churches in Costa Rica face west. This is so that people attending Mass face east, toward Jerusalem and where Jesus was crucified. This fact could be helpful to lost tourists, since you’d be able to figure out north by the position of the town’s church.
3) Costa Ricans pay a whopping 100% tax on imported goods. So, a $100 stereo would cost someone $200 and a $20,000 car would cost $40,000. ¡Qué loco!
4) Surprisingly, the national animal of Costa Rica is not something “tropical” like a jaguar or monkey. It’s actually the white-tailed deer. (I didn’t even know they had deer in the jungle.)
5) There are many volcanoes in Costa Rica, five of which are classified as active. They include Arenal (which I’ll be visiting); Poás, a popular day trip from San José; and Irazú, the tallest volcano in the country at 11,260 feet (3,432 meters). There are at least 60 dormant volcanoes and upwards of 200 extinct ones too.
Have you ever been to Costa Rica before? What were your impressions? What travel advice would you recommend? Feel free to comment in the section below!Beach; Volcano
Michael Figueiredo is a freelance travel writer based in Los Angeles, California. When he’s not gallivanting around the world, he’s enjoying the laid-back lifestyle and perfect weather of Southern California. So far he’s visited forty countries and territories on five continents. His goal is to see at least one new country every year! . Read more from this author