I am not going to bore you with endless facts but I think it’s important to know just the basics… If you have any particular questions about Costa Rica, please post them in the comments and I will try my very best to answer them!
~ Costa Rica (CR) is approximately the size of West Virginia and covers about 19,750 square miles.
~ Land in CR is comprised of tropical rainforests, cloud forests (pictured below), beaches, volcanoes, mountains and rivers.
~ Generally, the weather is warm, though it varies slightly throughout the country. Up in the mountains, it is much cooler and on the Pacific facing side, there is significantly less humidity than on the Atlantic facing side. Weather in San Jose (our first destination) is known for its warm days and cooler nights.
~ Columbus arrived in 1502 though the Spanish crown largely ignored CR because of her lack of mineral wealth.
~ Because of the lack of interest in CR from foreign powers, it was left alone for the most part and people got along well. The native tribes to the north were influenced by the Maya while those to the south had a connection with those in South America. The Europeans who chose to settle in CR were largely left alone.
~ CR developed uniquely compared to other Central American countries as a result of the lack of conflict in the area. These differences are still reflected today:
- language: one of the few countries that uses the “vos” form
- government: stable democracy that has only been interrupted 3 times in the last 150 years
- background: people have a strong European heritage
~ In 1821, CR declared her independence from Spain in a non-violent revolution and in 1838, was declared a sovereign nation.
~ CR is a democratic republic comprised of the executive, legislative and judicial branches, under the Constitution of 1948.
~ The current President of Costa Rica is Laura Chinchilla, the first woman President in the country (How awesome is that?!).
~ The currency in CR is the colon (plural: colones) and currently the exchange rate is about 560 colones to the dollar.
~ Spanish is the national language although English is largely understood, especially throughout the tourist destinations. There are also several indigenous languages in use though they are not widely spoken.
~ Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, though it is not the national religion. There is a growing Protestant movement as well as a growth in secularism.
Costa Rica is an incredible country and I could not be more excited to get there! T-8 days!