Costa Rica is known as one of the friendliest countries, as well as the greatest vacation destination on the planet for several reasons. Boasting picturesque sceneries, a varied climate, and incredibly friendly people – this exotic destination should be on your list.
Here are some of the top Costa Rica facts that will give it pride of place on your travel bucket list.
Top Costa Rica Facts That Will Make It Your Next Vacation Spot
1. The National Animal of Costa Rica Is Bambi
Even though Costa Rica is known for its large monkey, squirrel, and spider population, none of them are its national animal. That honor goes towards the white tailed deer (like the one in Disney’s Bambi) and one also graces the 1,000 colones bill.
The deer are difficult to spot since they are quite skittish, unlike the monkeys who are used to tourists and will come right up to you for treats. To get a glimpse of the elusive deer, visit Manuel Antonio National Park and the Corcovado National Park.
2. Zoos are Different There
Costa Rica is known for its impressive biodiversity and for being extremely environmentally friendly. In 2013, it was decided that no animal would remain behind a cage in the national parks. The aim was to allow visitors to interact with them to increase their appreciation of the natural world.
While the people behind the movement faced legal hurdles at first, their hard work eventually paid off. Today, the national parks in the country boast sprawling habitats and rehab centers which nurture a range of animals before they are released back into the wild.
3. It’s Known for its ‘Golden Grain’ Coffee
The country was built on coffee, particularly El grano de oro, the ‘golden grain.’ The sale of the coffee fueled the economy in the early stages of its development during the 1800s. In fact, it was so profitable, that farmers would receive free land if they would use it to grow the beans.
This coffee bean continues to be a major source of income for farmers across the country. It also funded the National Theatre in San Jose. It’s called ‘yodo’ on the streets and it is prepared in a unique manner i.e. through a chorreador. The flavor of the coffee depends on the soil it is grown in, but most people report a silky smooth texture and smoky chocolate flavor.
4. It Doesn’t Have a Military
The country got rid of its army in 1948 after it lost 2000 people during the Civil War that lasted for more than 40 days. While it does have a local police and border control, it doesn’t have a military unit.
This is quite a surprising fact if you take into account that Costa Rica shares a border with Nicargua, Panama, and Ecuador.
5. The Name Means ‘Rich Coast’
When Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of this country, he allegedly saw the natives adorned with gold and jewelry. The story was proven true by a Spanish conquistador which is why Costa Rica became known as the ‘rich coast’ or La Costa Rica.
6. The Country Uses Renewable Sources Of Energy
As mentioned before, Costa Rica is extremely environmentally friendly when it comes to the local wildlife. What most people don’t know is that it also protects the earth by using renewable sources of energy.
In fact, by 2016, the Central American country got 98% of its fuel from natural sources. By 2009, Costa Rica was considered to be the best environmentally friendly country in the globe.
7. Nicoya is a ‘Blue Zone’
A ‘blue zone’ is an area of the earth where people enjoy long life spans. Nicoya in Costa Rica is one of those places. Most of the local residents live to be 90 years old.
This is understandable since the local waters have rejuvenating properties. The locals are also quite friendly and would often visit family members and friends to keep their spirits up and to strengthen the community.
Successful centenarians in Costa Rica have a strong sense of purpose. They work so they can contribute to the greater good. They live with their families and are treated as respected members who have a lot to offer to the younger generations.
They are rich in magnesium and calcium. Plus, the residents make sure they get 8 hours of sleep a day and maintain a healthy diet which is usually made up of organic food and fruits.
Nicoya is one out of five blue zones in the world. So if you want to live a long and healthy life, consider Nicoya as a place where you can retire in peace.
8. You Can Watch the Sun Rise and Set in A Single Day
Costa Rica looks out over two oceans. The Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. This means you can watch the sun rise and set over the water in one single day.
Just head on over to the Caribbean side of the country to watch the sunrise and across the Pacific coast to watch it set on another beach. However, while the distance between the two spots is short, the roads can be difficult to traverse so give yourself plenty of time.
9. It has a Thriving Art Scene
Costa Rica is also known for its diverse art scene which includes both artifacts and paintings. In fact, you can even find some on its currency. Each colon bill features a colorful scene from the country, complete with natural habitats and paintings. The US dollar is also accepted there but it cannot hold a candle to the beauty of the Costa Rica colon.
Visitors can also find several art pieces in museums such as the National Museum of Costa Rica, Museum of Jade and the Museum of Art. If you cannot visit the museums, you can still marvel at the sculptures that line the streets.
Take Instagram-worthy pictures and watch the comments flood in. The best part is that every piece of art is maintained by the government, especially works from prominent artists such as Ibo Bonilla and Teodorico Quiros.
10. The Country Has Several Species of Hummingbirds and Butterflies
Hummingbirds and butterflies outnumber monkeys in Costa Rica. It’s the main reason the country is known as the hummingbird and butterfly capital of the world. There are over 50 species of this exotic birds in the country, but only two are native to it. Plus, there are 90 species of butterflies in Costa Rica.
The two hummingbirds native to the country include the mangrove hummingbird which can be found on the Pacific Coast, and the gorgeous emerald hummingbird which can be located in the Caribbean highlands. You can find over 26 species of this bird in La Paz Gardens alone!
66% of neo-tropical butterflies can be found in this Central America country and so can 18% of global butterfly species.
11. It has Several Volcanoes
Costa Rica has 60 volcanoes. Six of those are active and are often visited by adventure tourists.
The Arenal volcano is the most popular out of all of them. It towers over the surrounding landscape and can be found in northern Costa Rica.
12. It is Home to Several UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Costa Rica has over four UNESCO World Heritage Sites which isn’t surprising if we take its rich history into account. These include the Stone Spheres of Diquis, La Amistad National Park, Cocos Island National Parks, and Chiefdom Settlements. All four of these sites get tourists year round.
Visit Costa Rica for The Sights And Its Diverse Cuisine!
While Costa Rica is known for its amazing wildlife and natural beauty, it also gets a number of food vloggers who fall in love with its delicious and diverse cuisine. Check out this video by famed food vlogger, The Endless Adventure as he samples the food in Cahuita, Costa Rica.
With its rich biodiversity, cuisine, happy people and ecofriendly practices, Costa Rica has become a prime tourist destination for adventure seekers across the globe. While the county has a violent history, it came out of those years better than before and is working hard to improve its image.
So if you are still searching for your next vacation destination, consider this Central American country as your next stop. You will NOT be disappointed and will bring back amazing memories on your return as well.
Hi I’m Jay. I grew up in Seattle, Washington and live in Los Angeles, California. I have travelled to 23 countries so far and planning to go explore more countries soon! My Favorite trips so far have been to Israel, Japan, Rome, Iceland and Australia. I started this site to share my love of travel with everyone and build a community of like-minded, free thinking, free exploring people.