About Costa Rica – What is its General Character?
Costa Rica is one of the most advanced and forward looking nations in Central America today, a long-established democracy with few political scandals and generally stable, peaceful conditions. Education, which is free, has created a population with a 96% literacy rate, with only the scattered Indian tribes deep in the jungles of Limon Province and pursuing their own immemorial way of life probably being exempted from this system.
Costa Rica’s economy is still centered on the production of fruit, specifically bananas, for export to the United States, Europe, and other portions of the world. These elongated, golden skinned fruits account for the largest portion of economic activity, but they are rapidly being overtaken by the country’s burgeoning ecotourism industry (see below).
Costa Ricans tend to be friendly and polite. Practically everyone in the country speaks Spanish, while 11% of the population speaks English as a second language. Much of the culture is quite modern, with technology, fast food, and all the other contemporary amenities found in the major cities.
What About Costa Rica’s Reputation as a Paradise for Ecotourism?
Costa Rica’s ecological programs are far in advance of any other country on Earth, with the nation expected to achieve carbon neutral status by 2021, and 25% of the land area currently contained in national parks and official nature reserves. Even more of the land is now being preserved as part of private reserves, thanks to the immense profitability of ecotourism.
As long as ecotourism continues to flourish, Costa Rica’s system of parks and reserves will continue to expand. This is a very good thing, considering the immense natural treasures to be found in this small isthmian nation. Visiting Costa Rica as an ecotourist is an excellent way to help preserve one of nature’s richest footholds on Earth.
That there is a marvelous abundance of life here, nourished by the warmth and intense rainfall of the tropics, is beyond question. There are half a million species of plants and animals in this compact land area, including 300,000 varieties of insects, 1,200 kinds of orchids, and 2,000 species of bromeliads. Spectacular tropical butterflies, fierce jaguars, amusing monkeys, tapirs, bats, colorful or secretive tropical birds, and a host of others fill every ecological niche to the brim.
What Should Visitors Know About Costa Rica Regions?
Costa Rica’s landscape is made up of many different kinds of terrain, and this, coupled with the fact that the country is on an isthmus between two seas, means that there is immense diversity in the habitats found in the nation. Along the coast lie lush plains leading down to mangrove swamps or golden tropical beaches, while bare volcanic peaks march along the central spine of the country like the colossal ziggurats of some long-forgotten creed. In between, the country is an immensely detailed tangle of valleys, rivers, ridges, lakes, waterfalls, hills, and slopes.
Cloud forest clings to the higher peaks, while ordinary wet rainforest covers their knees and bases. The westward slopes feature dry tropical forest, and rare habitats occur on some of the cordilleras where the vegetation has been little disturbed by humankind. There are at least a dozen major habitat types in the country, all of them suitable for highly distinctive ecotourism.