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About Costa Rica

One of five waterfalls in tropical rain forest found at La Paz waterfall gardens, Costa RicaTwo black and white oxen pulling red traditional ox cart during a parade in Atenas, Costa RicaPre-Columbian gold butterfly figure in the Gold Museum, San Jose, Costa Rica - Butterflies symbolize female shamans

Costa Rica’s land mass is about one half the size of Kentucky and is bordered by Nicaragua on the north, Panama on the south, the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east.  There are 12 “life zones” in Costa Rica each with their own climate, vegetation and wildlife.  For its size, Costa Rica has one of the richest and highest bio-diversities in the world and is a vital corridor/link for wildlife between North and South America. Those who have visited Costa Rica have consistantly commented on its natural beauty and the friendliness of the people.

Costa Rica has dedicated 27% of its land to national parks or reservations.  Eight different indigenous groups remain scattered throughout Costa Rica on reservations with most groups maintaining their language, culture and craft traditions.

In 1889, the first democratic elections were held in Costa Rica and in 1948, the army was abolished to provide more money for education and improved living standards for its citizens. The economy is based on coffee, pineapple and banana exportation, tourism, textiles and microchip manufacturing.  Costa Rica is a study in contrasts.  Transportation can be by horseback or oxcart on up to the latest model 4X4 Benz.  Internet cafes are throughout the country as well as ATMs, but to obtain a phone line in your home one has to wait over a year from the only nationally owned phone company.

There are two seasons: winter (more rain) from May to November and summer (less rain) from December to April.   In the socialized medical system, hospitals provide good, free emergency services to everyone (including foreigners) and the water is safe to drink in all but the very remote areas of Costa Rica. 

Close up of intricately painted red ox cart at the factory in Sarchi, Costa RicaFriendly Costa Ricans sell produce at the farmers market in Atenas, Costa RicaCarved balsa wood human face mask by Boruca Indians, located in Buenos Aires, Costa Rica - traditional boruca masks are not painted

Copyright Jan Yatsko February 2007


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