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Costa Rica Facts – Fun Info About the Country

Costa Rica is not just an amazing tourism destination. It is also a thriving country. We think it is always nice to know some Costa Rica facts before visiting in order to gain a better appreciation and understanding of the country and culture.

Environmental Facts

beetle cahuita

– Costa Rica is home to more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity. This is very impressive because its landmass only takes up .03% of the planet’s surface.

– Approximately 25% of the country is made up of protected forests, reserves, and wildlife refuges. The most popular national park is Manuel Antonio National Park.

– Costa Rica generates more than 99% of its electricity by renewable energy. If you visit the northern part of the country near Rio Celeste you will see all of the windmills used for wind energy.

– On the Pacific coast, the dry season runs from December through April. On the Caribbean coast, the dry season tends to be from August until December. You can find out more about the weather by month and location with our guide to weather by month.

Geographical Facts

irazu volcano crater

– The country of Costa Rica consists of seven provinces; San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago, Guanacaste, Puntarenas, and Limon. This is a bit confusing because there is a major city of the same name in all provinces except for Guanacaste.

– There are 800 miles of coastline in Costa Rica between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Also, keep in mind that all beaches are open to the public for free. That means 800 miles of coastline that you are welcome to explore.

– The sun rises and sets around the same time every day of the year. In total there is about a thirty-minute difference in sunrise and sunset time throughout the entire year.

You can expect the sun to rise between 5:15am and 5:45am every day and the sun sets between 5:15am and 5:45pm every night.

Yeap, we have about exactly 12 hours of daylight every day. It gets a bit like groundhog day after awhile, but I’m definitely not complaining.

– Earthquakes are quite common in Costa Rica. In fact, there are typically several small earthquakes every day in the country. Fortunately, most are so minor that you won’t even feel them.

– There are no street addresses in the country. Instead, all directions are given in relation to notable points such as government buildings and soccer fields.

– There are over 120 volcanic formations in Costa Rica, but only seven active volcanos. You can find out more and plan your volcano visit with our guide to Costa Rican volcanoes.

Facts About Costa Ricans

ticos farmers market

– Costa Ricans refer to themselves as “Ticos” ( for males) and “Ticas” (for females). Collectively they are known as “Ticos”.

– The Costa Rican diet staples are rice and black beans. Usually, these foods are eaten with chicken or meat, vegetables, or salad. For breakfast, rice and beans are mixed together. This is called Gallo Pinto.

– Costa Rica has a population of a little over four million. The majority of the population (a little over two million) lives in the capital of San Jose.

– The life expectancy in the country is almost 77 years old. This is one of the highest life expectancies in the world.

– The Nicoya peninsula (the area where Montezuma and Santa Teresa are located) is one of the five Blue Zones in the world. This means it is an area with the highest life expectancy rate.

– Costa Rica is categorized as one of the happiest countries in the world. You will see it when you are here. Ticos are almost always smiling and enjoying life to the fullest.

– The official motto of Ticos is “Pura Vida.” This directly translates to “Pure Life.” Costa Ricans take this motto very seriously and generally stay very relaxed about most things in life.

– The official language is Spanish in Costa Rica. However, a large percentage of citizens speak at least some English due to the high percentage of tourists. 

– Costa Rica has a 96% literacy rate. This is the highest of any Central America country.

– 76% of Costa Rican’s identify themselves as Catholic. 

Historical Facts

costa rica ox cart

– Christopher Columbus arrived in Costa Rica on his fourth voyage in 1502. Following his visit, many Spanish expeditions were conducted to the area which led to the eventual first Spanish settlement.

– The country gained independence from Spain in 1821 and full independence from Mexico (who controlled the Central American countries at that time) in 1838.

– Costa Rica does not have a standing army. In fact, the army was abolished in 1953

– Banana’s and coffee have historically been the biggest exports from Costa Rica. In fact, Costa Rica is the second-largest exporter of bananas in the world.

Costa Rica Travel Facts

boat tortuguero

– Tourism is the leading industry in Costa Rica with approximately 9% of the country’s citizens being employed in the industry. That means 600,000 jobs.

– Over three million tourists typically visit the country annually with about 40% coming from the US and 6% from Canada.

– The most popular time to visit the country is between December and the end of April. This is the dry season in Costa Rica.

FIND OUT HOW TO GET UP TO 10% OFF YOUR CAR RENTAL IN COSTA RICA!

– The main draw for most tourists is the nature. Many visitors reported visiting for the beaches, birdwatching, flora and wildlife watching, and volcano viewing.

– Costa Rica is also a popular destination for medical tourism. Medical care is very affordable in Costa Rica and there are several practices that cater to foreigners with English speaking staff, modern facilities, and highly trained medical professionals.

Note: With the current Coronavirus situation, Costa Rica has lost its biggest income source during the highest travel time of year. The industry and especially small companies (like ours) have been hit hard.

Costa Rica really is an amazing place to visit. We, and all tourism companies, would love for you to consider Costa Rica as your next vacation destination after all this craziness is over and we can all get out there exploring this beautiful world once again. 🙂

If you have any questions about any Costa Rica facts please leave them in the comment section below and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Also, if you know of any other fun Costa Rican facts we would love to hear them!

WAS THIS HELPFUL? WE’D LOVE IF YOU’D PIN IT!

We’re Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).

We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and now live in sunny Costa Rica. It was a spontaneous decision to move here, but it was the best decision!

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