Costa Rica Information
Costa Rica is a tiny country on the Central America Isthmus, bordering Panama to the south, and Nicaragua to the north. Many people mistake Costa Rica for Puerto Rico, maybe because the later is part of the United States even though the language in Puerto Rico is Spanish like Latin America. One of the most popular tourist areas of Costa Rica is the Arenal Volcano overlooking lake Arenal just west of the tourist trap La Fortuna de San Carlos.
Costa Ricans like to call themselves Ticos, from the diminutive in spanish as they are always talking about the smallest, the biggest, the always things in life. Ticos are a fun loving spontaneous people who will stop work and start drinking at the mere suggestion that now is a good time to have fun.
The country has many microclimates, ranging from hot dry deserts to cool wet rain forests and everything in between. Monteverde has become world famous for it's protected national cloud forests and the osa peninsula for it's last stands of steamy humid hot tropical forests that run to the edge of the beaches.
A number of organizations in Costa Rica have as their agenda the preservation of the tropical rain forests of central america. La Reserva is a non profit group of conservationists in the Tilaran mountains working to promote Costa Rican reforestation and watershed conservation. Give them a call and volunteer or donate to help preserve the quality of life on planet earth.
From an early age Costa Ricans learn to love the beaches and soccer, and to a far lesser extent, religion, even though the Catholics have a constitutional claim to a unique access to spiritual matters. During the three major annual holidays, christmas, easter and summer holiday, Costa Rican families flock to the beaches like sheep falling off a cliff. Tent cities spring up overnight with no organization and their aftermath can be a real hazard to the tourists who walk casually over the sand only to discover they are in the midst of the previous week's latrine.
Current estimates put the population at about 4.1 million persons (june 2007), but about one million are illegal immigrants primarily from Nicaragua and Panama, come to Costa Rica for the better life, for work, and to escape what poverty they left behind.
Some say there are over 100,000 north american first worlders living in Costa Rica as retirement living is so much cheaper in Costa Rica then say United States or Canada where most expats come from. The US embassy in Pavas near San Jose claims on their web site that just under 10,000 expats are registered as US Citizens living out their golden years in this central american paradise.
Fresh food in Costa Rica is relatively inexpensive, but restaurants are now comparable to USA prices even though the quality is far from good. Most typical food here is very boring and poorly prepared, with overcooking and over salting the major crimes of these low quality chefs. We do have many new quality restaurants in Costa Rica now, but the prices are certainly only for the well healed. A typical quality meal will set back the eater at least $25 without alcohol. So when eating in costa rica, plan on preparing your meals at home for the best quality and lowest costs.
For more information about Costa Rica try the following online newspaper web sites:
The Tico Times
AM Costa Rica