Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country located in Central America that is ranked as one of the most visited international destinations. One of Costa Rica`s main sources of income is tourism. Costa Rica is a democratic and peaceful country and it has not had an army since the year 1948. In November 2017, National Geographic magazine named Costa Rica as the happiest country in the world. The article included this summary: "Costa Ricans enjoy the pleasure of living daily life to the fullest in a place that mitigates stress and maximizes joy". It is not surprising then that one of the most recognizable phrases among "Ticos" is "Pura Vida", pure life in a literal translation. It reflects the inhabitant's philosophy of life, denoting a simple life, free of stress, a positive, relaxed feeling. The expression is used in various contexts in conversation".
Rugged highlands are found throughout most of the country, ranging from approximately 1,000 to 2,000 meters. The Guanacaste Mountain Range, Central Mountain Range, and Talamanca Mountain Range are the main mountain ranges extending the entire length of the country. There are several active volcanoes (Arenal Volcano, Irazu Volcano, Rincon de la Vieja Volcano and Turrialba Volcano) and the country`s highest mountain (Chirripo Hill) with a height of 3,819 m. The country has a relatively long coastline in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as a number of rivers and streams that attract specialist kayakers and rafters from all over the world. Costa Rica is a tropical destination. Its look and landscape changes throughout the year, and the country is in a constant state of renewal. As such, every time of the year is a great time to visit Costa Rica. The Costa Rican landscape is one of great variety, filled with lush vegetation and stunning displays of flora. With jungles, beaches, and a wide array of terrain and climate zones, Costa Rica is a playground for the adventurous. Whether it`s rafting, hiking, wildlife viewing or just relaxing on the beach, everything under the sun is available to you.
Costa Rica is a safe paradise. Unlike other countries, Costa Rica enjoys a very stable political climate and economic development, providing visitors with a tranquil setting for their stay. It is one of the few countries in the world with no army. The country and its people have a peaceful disposition, which makes for the perfect place to enjoy an unforgettable vacation. Costa Rica offers dreamlike landscapes, kind people willing to share their culture and a safe country to experience natural wonders.
Costa Rica was the point where the Mesoamerican and South American native cultures met. The northwest of the country, the Nicoya peninsula, was the southernmost point of Nahuatl cultural influence when the Spanish conquerors (conquistadores) came in the 16th century. The central and southern portions of the country had Chibcha influences. The Atlantic coast, meanwhile, was populated with African workers during the 17th and 18th centuries.
As a result of the immigration of Spaniards, their 16th-century Spanish culture and its evolution marked everyday life and culture until today, with Spanish language and the Catholic religion as primary influences.
Costa Rican cuisine is a blend of Native American, Spanish, African and many other cuisine origins. Dishes such as the very traditional tamale and many others made of corn are the most representative of its indigenous inhabitants, and similar to other neighboring Mesoamerican countries.
Costa Rica provides the perfect combination of relaxation, adventure, culture, fine cuisine and wildlife. Visitors find in Costa Rica an adventure paradise set in the most beautiful natural and safe environment. It is also the home of four World Heritage sites certified by UNESCO.
Costa Rica`s territory is so small that it encompasses only 0.03 percent of the planet`s surface but is still within the top 20 richest countries in biodiversity on Earth in terms of species density. In fact, with only 51,100 km2 of total territory, Costa Rica has nearly half a million species, representing 5 percent of the planet`s biodiversity. That means that it is possible to find more species in 1,000 km2 in Costa Rica as in the same area in huge countries like Brazil or Colombia. The lush wild natural environment can be experienced all throughout the country and is easily accessible to the curious visitor. Twenty six percent of the country is composed of conservation and natural protected territory.
Reptiles and amphibians are the most colorful and mysterious herpetofauna of Costa Rica. They range in size from the huge sea turtles to the fingernail-size frogs. Costa Rica has a great diversity of reptiles including: 14 species of turtles, about 70 species of lizard, more than 200 species of snake, and 2 species of crocodile. Amphibians are also very diverse with about 130 species of frog, 37 of salamander and 4 of caecilian.
Costa Rica has a great diversity of birds (more than 850 species). Approximately 600 species remain in Costa Rica permanently while the remaining 150 are transitory and stop off in Costa Rica during mass migrations. Most of the migratory birds have their breeding areas in North America. Resident birds have local migrations within the territory, in response to seasonal changes that affect the abundance of food (nectar, fruits, insects).
Macaws and parrots fly up and down mountains searching for fruiting trees; the resplendent quetzal and the three-wattle bell-birds fly to lowlands after breeding.  Ducks, ibises, herons, storks and other aquatic birds depart from the wetlands as the dry season advances. Even more impressive is the arrival of migratory birds. Warblers, vireos, thrushes, tanagers, flycatchers, and orioles, to name a few, arrive to Costa Rica from the temperate and boreal North America during August, and become more abundant during September-October.
Hummingbirds: Costa Rica has around 50 species of hummingbird. These birds are most often seen feeding from flowers, but they also eat insects. The volcano hummingbird is the smallest one (weighing only 2 grams) and occurs in the highlands. The largest hummingbird, the violet sabrewing is about 15 cm, and easy to watch at the Caribbean lowlands.
Quetzal and trogons: Trogons are colorful birds easy to watch in the lowlands; the quetzal is common in the highlands. The breeding season of the quetzals is from March to June in the highlands, and it makes them easy to watch because the males sing to attract females. After the mating season, these birds migrate to the lowlands following the fruiting patterns of the "aguacatillo" trees.