Costa Rica Revealed
Costa Rica literally means 'RICH COAST'. That is the observation of Christopher Columbus in 1502 when he first set eyes on this exotic paradise looking for gold. It was quickly discovered that there was little gold to be found, but the natural beauty of Costa Rica has been attracting settlers ever since the first colonization.
Costa Rica was settled by those relatively few Spanish immigrants who valued independence and beauty more than natural riches. It developed into a country of independent family farmers. Even today the farmer is the backbone of this nation. Costa Rica is and has been the most stable, democratic country in Latin America. It houses no army and is a nation of peace and tranquility.
Costa Rica boasts a literacy rate of nearly 90%, one of the highest in the world for its size. For 55 years now Costa Ricans have lived under a constitution that prohibits the establishment of an army, and assures free elections every four years to its people. There is over 90% voter turnout! Its free health care program is recognized as the most effective in Latin America, and the country has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world. Whether you are looking to retire here or to start a business, Costa Rica is filled with opportunities.
Through the course of its proud history, Costa Rica, like the United States, has attracted migrations of people throughout the world. The nation's population of 3,500,000 includes many English, French, German, Oriental and Italian surnames. Costa Rica is a favorite living and retirement haven for foreigners, and over 20,000 U.S. citizens now reside in this lovely lush tropical paradise. Resident status is readily attainable as well as ownership of property same as in the United States. Property taxes are unbelievably low.
In recognition of Costa Rica's achievements in the fields of peace and social services as well as promoting peace in Central America, ex-President, Oscar Arias, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987.
Above all, Costa Rica is safe. While there is a certain amount of petty crime and visitors must naturally be aware of pickpockets in crowded areas, the rate of violent crime is very low. It is much safer to walk the streets of San Jose, Costa Rica (population 2,000.000), than to walk the streets of any other city of comparable size in the U.S., or Europe.
For a small Latin American country, it is clean, boasting a number of fine theaters, museums, art galleries and international restaurants, along with hundreds of local parks and athletic facilities.
CLIMATE: San Jose lies approximately 3,000 feet above sea level and is noted for its eternal spring-like weather, with an average yearly temperature in the 70's. On both coasts temperatures vary from the high 70's to the 90's. December through April is dry season and May to November is the green season, or rainy season as some refer to it. While it may rain each afternoon, it is usually bright and sunny in the early mornings.
NATURAL HISTORY: Over 20% of this lovely country has been declared National Parks, Biological Reserves, Rainforest and Cloud forest, precious lands that will always be protected from development. Costa Rica has nine volcanoes, only three of which are active, with Arenal Volcano erupting regularly every few hours; an unforgettable experience! There are more rivers in Costa Rica than in any other country in the world, except for New Zealand.
Costa Rica has twice as many tree species as the United States, over 1200 known Orchid species, more than 800 bird species and over 12,000 varieties of plants. Major exports are coffee, bananas and beef.
FOOD Costa Rican food is relatively bland by comparrison to international standards and flavors, as in Italian and Mexican. Most Costa Ricans do not like a lot of hot spice in their food. However, most original recipes are wholesome and nutricious. Rum cakes, made with local Costa Rican rum, have recently been introduced, in addition to the traditional Costa Rican cakes, but they are more popular with tourists, than the ticos.
TOURISM: Tourism ranks second in revenue generating for Costa Rica. The country has not been overdeveloped with mega resorts and volume group travel. Hotels and resorts outside the capital city of San Jose are small, which limits the number of travelers coming into the country; therefore, beaches, parks, nature preserves and rivers are not taken over by tourists.
Deep water fishing on the Pacific and Tarpon/Snook fishing on the Atlantic are world class. River rafting class 1 to the exhilarating rapids is a favorite here. Lake Arenal is referred to as have the number 1 wind surfing conditions in the World. Snorkeling and diving are fast becoming popular on both coasts.
CURRENCY: The national currency is the Colone, it floats with the U.S. dollar and is stable. Current exchange rate is about 441 to the U.S. dollar.
HEALTH SERVICES:Costa Rica's medical system is considered among the best in the world. Many visitors travel to Costa Rica specifically for medical treatment at a fraction of the costs of North America and Europe. The country has a very complete and modern public hospital system with health services and clinics in all major cities as well as in most smaller towns. There are also excellent private medical facilities available in most areas. More recently, medical treatments with HGH, human growth hormone and testosterone maintenance programs have become popular for visitors.
INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES Costa Rica is served by all major airlines around the world. Flying to Costa Rica, from most countries is economical, with a wide selection of flights.