I just returned from a week in Costa Rica. First things first…one week is not enough. I’ll be making a return trip… or three!
Many have visited this gem in Central America.
Once you’ve made the trip, it’s easy to understand why. Costa Rica is beautiful. Costa Ricans are friendly, accommodating, bright, and happy to show you their country. And there’s so much more that makes Costa Rica the kind of place I’m eager to invest my travel dollars and time in.
Here’s just a few highlights of this really special place (key source: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/847271468190746362/pdf/97489-CSD-P149582-Box391476B-PUBLIC-From-Good-to-Better.pdf)
- Despite being anchored in a Central American region rife with political and social turmoil until the late 20th century, Costa Rica stands out as the longest working democracy in Latin America.
- Costa Rica is ahead of other Latin American countries in the region in “governance” or its ability to govern effectively (see the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators project http://info.worldbank.org/governance/WGI/#home)).
- Costa Rica has set aside 26 percent of its land area for protected areas, including national parks; making it a welcoming destination for tourists.
- Renewable sources provide nearly 100% of Costa Rica's energy needs. Most from hydroelectric (dams), and the remaining from wind, geothermal, solar, and biomass.
- Sometimes referred to as the “Switzerland of Latin America,” Costa Rica’s strategy has brought economic, social, and environmental dividends, with sustained growth, upward mobility for a large share of the population, important gains in social indicators, and major achievements in reforestation and conservation.
- Poverty rates in Costa Rica are among the lowest in Latin America and the Caribbean.
- The Costa Rican middle class has become the largest socioeconomic group of the country, comprising about 47 percent of the population.
- Costa Rica has built a world-renowned “Green Trademark” centered on conservation, reforestation, and national parks. It’s the only tropical country in the world that has reversed deforestation, increasing the area covered by forests from 26 percent in 1983 to 52 percent in 2015.
- Costa Rica is the only country in Latin America that adopted the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2021. This is all about climate change. Carbon neutrality means, for example, that organizations, businesses and individuals remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they put in to it. The overall goal of carbon neutrality is to achieve a zero-carbon footprint.
- Costa Rica is an eco-tourism pioneer. The resident naturalists who work in eco-tourism are exceptional and among the very best.
- Costa Rica has a tradition of negotiation over confrontation, social development over military spending and tolerance over hostility.
- Costa Rica abolished its military forces in 1949 and since then devoted substantial resources to investment in health and education. It prioritizes investment in public education, including the university system, as well as technical and vocational training. Since 1869, public education in Costa Rica is free and mandatory.
- Its literacy rate is 96% and life expectancy is 79.3 years.
- Costa Rica accounts for only 0.03 percent of the earth's surface, yet it contains nearly 6 percent of the world's biodiversity.
This visit to Costa Rica was at the end of the dry season, which runs from December to April. Different regions of the country experience the dry season a little differently. If you visit during the dry season -- depending on where you travel -- you might see a lot of brown (similar to many parts of the US in fall and winter) or you might see some brown and some green. In any event, before your visit, do your research on the dry/wet season timing. Also, find a good, local, nature guide for the region you’re visiting. Trip Advisor can help a bit with that.
Visit the “Landscape and Nature” and “More Wildlife” galleries to see my photographs of sloths, toucans, monkeys, red-eyed tree frogs, stunning sunsets and more. Hover over the images – those with Costa Rica in the title are from this outing.
Three-Toed Sloth, Costa Rica