Costa Rica Known for it's natural beauty and gracious people is a small country located in Central America. Located between the countries of Nicaragua and Panama, bordered by both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea is a true gem, the Republic of Costa Rica. Located ten degrees north of the equator Costa Rica is in the tropics and even though it is a small country it has a very diverse landscape and a variety of weather as well. One unusual aspect of Costa Rica is that the country has no army and instead of a national hero being a general it is a young barefoot campesino (farmer). Costa Rica prides on the idea that they have gained through evolution what other countries have tried to attain through revolution. The first Spanish settlers arrived around the 1560's and upon their arrival they were shocked that the indigenous people were resistant to forced labor and there was no wealth of minerals.
in 1522 there were an estimated 300, 000 natives and by 1801 there were only 8, 000 due to intertribal conflicts, wars with the Spanish, illness from the Old World, intermarriage, and the sale of natives as slaves to other countries. Because Costa Rica was such a poor, neglected piece of the Spanish Empire the poverty gave rise to a simple life, with strong individualism, and an equality among social classes that contributed to the beginnings of democracy in Costa Rica. Costa Rica's government is divided into three branches with a Supreme Election Tribunal in charge of elections which are held every four years. Costa Rica does have a large beau racy, the government produces electricity, runs the telephone service, the national banking system, builds houses, and distills liquor. About 14% of the population is employed by the government. Today the population of Costa Rica is 3, 710, 558.
The main agricultural resources are bananas, coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes, and timber. The main industries of Costa Rica are food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, and plastic products. The average Costa Rican's annual income is only $2, 719 compared to the U. S.'s $25, 000. Minimum wage is just under $1 an hour. Spanish is the language of the country and 95% of the population is Roman Catholic.
The Capital of Costa Rica is San Jose and the currency used in the country is Colones. The central valley is home to most of the countries people because the area tends to be cooler and more mild than the coast and the soils are rich. Since most of the people in Costa Rica are of the Catholic religion most of the major Costa Rican holidays are related to the church. Easter or Holy week also called Semana Santa, is a huge holiday and if you are in Costa Rica during this holiday, the dates vary annually, you will most likely see colorful parades, bullfights, rodeos, dancing, fireworks, fiestas, and church celebrations.
Usually during this week businesses will be closed. Other holidays include March 19 th which is St. Joseph's Day who is the patron saint of San Jose, and September 15 th which is Independence Day, a celebration of their independence from Spain in 1821. Another big holiday season is Christmas and the New Year. Most ti cos (the name for local Costa Rican's) take the whole week from Christmas until the New Year off from work so in turn almost all businesses are closed during this holiday season. As for Costa Rican food it is not for the weak of heart because it can be heavy in oil.
A lot of the dishes have a lot of rice and beans in them which is considered the main staple of the Costa Rican diet. The national breakfast dish is Gallo Pinto which is beans and rice in coconut milk. At lunch Gallo Pinto becomes Casa do, cabbage and tomato salad are added, fried plantains, and meat. Vegetables are obviously not a large part of the diet. Even though Costa Rica has a lot of coastline fish and seafood is very expensive because most of it is exported. There is no national drink but Horchata is a traditional cultural drink made from a cornmeal cinnamon flavored drink.
Another traditional drink is Chan a slimy drink made of seeds, Lina za, and Fresco de Fru tas. The local beer is a harsh, clear distilled liquid made from fermented sugarcane. The local wines are a sure bet for a hangover and made from fruits other than grapes such as blackberries and nance. Costa rica is a country where the people will treat you like you are their best friend and the sights are enough to take your breathe away. The white sand beaches, the lush Monteverde Cloud Rain forest, and some of the best whitewater rafting are just a few of the attractions that draw an increasing number of tourists to the country of costa Rica every year. In addition the Costa Rica Tourism Institute and the Sustainable Tourism Certification Program encourages proper stewardship of natural and cultural resources, improvement of the quality of life of local communities, a and economic successes that contribute to national development.
Businesses are rated on a scale of 1-5 based on terms of outstanding sustainability. Costa Rica has several National Parks that help to aid in the protection of the millions of plant and animal species that are found in the country including quetzals, jaguars, tapirs, bare-necked umbrella birds, ocelots, and monkeys just to name a few. The country relies heavily on tourism and a type of tourism that is rapidly growing in conjunction with eco-tourism is the adventure tourism industry. Hiking, camping adventures, waterfall repelling, mu lit-day horseback riding trips, wilderness skills courses, and whitewater rafting are some of the more popular adventures. Outward Bound even runs a school in Costa Rica. All in all from what I can gather Costa Rica is best experienced by traveling through a variety of places around the country.
Do what the locals do to experience the culture. Visit both villages and the capital city of San Jose, go to the beach and take a trip to the cloud forest, visit the National Parks and join in the local celebrations. One's experience in Costa Rica is what you make of it but the opportunity is there to get a taste and feel of the traditional local culture. References 1. Shock, Ree Strange, Adventures in Nature, Costa Rica, Avalon Travel Publishing, 20012. Kussalanant, Chakras, The Tico Times, Culture and Arts, Volume VII No.
14 April 6, 20013. Yahoo, web accessed o.