by Jeff Jenkins
Costa Rica has a meaningful name—rich coast.
While it does have paradisiacal beaches all around, this Central American countryis more than that. It’s a rich and diverse ecosystem, a lovely culture, and warm people.
Why not find out more? Check the most surprising facts about Costa Rica and fall further in love with this destination.
9- “¡PURA VIDA!”
The official slogan for Costa Rica is Pura Vida, and you will hear it everywhere. While it literally means pure life and can refer to the country’s rich biodiversity, pura vidais all about smiling against adversity, and remaining cheerful, like a Central American version of Hakuna Matata.
8- TICOS AND TICAS.
While the official demonym of the country is Costa Rican, people from the country refer to themselves as ticos and ticas. History says it’s because of the population’s habit to use the diminutive form tico (i.e. “chiquitico”)as opposed to the common tito(i.e. “chiquitito”).
7- SMALL BUT RICH.
Costa Rica is a small country—the 129th largest country in the world. To put that into perspective, Costa Rica is similar in size to Denmark and could fit inside the United States 74 times. Despite this, it hosts within a whopping 5% of the world’s biodiversity.
6- WHERE DID THE SOLDIERS GO?
Costa Rica has no standing army since 1948 when it was abolished after the Costa Rican Civil War—one of the country’s bloodiest conflicts. Security is enforced by a civil police force instead, and the money that would have been used for military purposes is invested in education and healthcare.
5- IT’S EASY BEING GREEN.
Costa Rica is one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world. Statistically, Costa Rica produces 78% of its renewable energy through hydroelectric power plants and 18% through wind power or geothermal means. Around 25% of Costa Rica is composed of protected green areas, as well.
4- OH, THE SMELL OF COFFEE!
Odds are that you’ve had Costa Rican coffee beans without knowing it! It turns out Coffee beans from this country are regarded some of the best ever. The famed—and expensive!—Tarrazú Geisha Coffee produced by Starbucks uses beans from the Tarrazú canton from San José.
3- BOILING HOT.
Costa Rica, despite its tiny size, has five active volcanoes within its borders. Irazú, Poás, Turrialba, Arenal and Rincón de la Vieja are all beautiful sights that are worth knowing—Arenal is known for providing amazing natural hot springs you just have to visit.
2- ASKING FOR SODA.
For us, soda is a synonym for a fizzy drink or a pop. But in Costa Rica, soda is the name given to small, traditional, and cheap restaurants. They provide typical Costa Rican meals for $2-$3, so if you want to experience Costa Rica like a local, you must visit one!
1- HAPPINESS ABOUND.
Pura Vida is not an empty saying.
According to the World Happiness Report, Costa Rica is the 2nd happiest country in the American continent, only behind Canada. They rank way ahead of countries like Germany, the United States, and Belgium.
If ticos are so happy it must be for something.
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