Costa Rica in Central America

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

Bonita Beach in Limón Province © AndSalX-WWECR/cc-by-sa-4.0

Bonita Beach in Limón Province © AndSalX-WWECR/cc-by-sa-4.0

Costa Rica (spanish: literally “Rich Coast”) is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 5 million, in a land area of 51,060 square kilometers (19,714 square miles). An estimated 333,980 people live in the capital and largest city, San José. Other large cities are: Puerto Limón, Alajuela, Heredia, Desamparados, Liberia, Puntarenas and San Vicente, with 30,000 to 50,000 inhabitants. Costa Rica is composed of seven provinces.

Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals. While the country has only about 0.03% of the world’s landmass, it contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Around 25% of the country’s land area is in protected national parks and protected areas, the largest percentage of protected areas in the world (developing world average 13%, developed world average 8%). Costa Rica has successfully managed to diminish deforestation from some of the worst rates in the world from 1973 to 1989, to almost zero by 2005. One national park, the Corcovado National Park, is internationally renowned among ecologists for its biodiversity (including big cats and tapirs) and is where visitors can expect to see an abundance of wildlife. Corcovado is the one park in Costa Rica where all four Costa Rican monkey species can be found. These include the white-headed capuchin, the mantled howler, the endangered Geoffroy’s spider monkey, and the Central American squirrel monkey, found only on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and a small part of Panama, and considered endangered until 2008, when its status was upgraded to vulnerable. Deforestation, illegal pet-trading, and hunting are the main reasons for its threatened status. Tortuguero National Park – the name Tortuguero can be translated as “Full of Turtles” – is home to spider, howler, and white-throated capuchin monkeys; the three-toed sloth and two-toed sloth; 320 species of birds; and a variety of reptiles. The park is recognized for the annual nesting of the endangered green turtle, and is the most important nesting site for the species. Giant leatherback, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles also nest there. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is home to about 2,000 plant species, including numerous orchids. Over 400 types of birds and more than 100 species of mammals can be found there. Over 840 species of birds have been identified in Costa Rica. As is the case in much of Central America, the avian species in Costa Rica are a mix of North and South American species. The country’s abundant fruit trees, many of which bear fruit year round, are hugely important to the birds, some of whom survive on diets that consist only of one or two types of fruit. Some of the country’s most notable avian species include the resplendent quetzal, scarlet macaw, three-wattled bellbird, bare-necked umbrellabird, and the keel-billed toucan. The Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad is allowed to collect royalties on any biological discoveries of medical importance. Costa Rica is a center of biological diversity for reptiles and amphibians, including the world’s fastest running lizard, the spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis).

Gallo pinto, a mixture of rice and black beans, is the typical breakfast dish of Costa Rica © Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz/cc-by-sa-4.0 Punta Uva Beach © Jaimedelamata/cc-by-sa-3.0 Puerto Viejo de Talamanca © Letartean/cc-by-3.0 Parque Central in Liberia © Ll1324 National Theatre in San José © Tillor87/cc-by-3.0 Manuel Antonio National Park © DonMezzi Farmer's Market in Alajuela © flickr.com - The LEAF Project/cc-by-sa-2.0 Escazù © flickr.com - Armando Maynez/cc-by-2.0 Cruise ships in Puntarenas © Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz/cc-by-sa-3.0 Coffee plantation in the Orosi Valley © Dirk van der Made/cc-by-sa-3.0 City center of Heredia © Victor Quirós A/cc-by-sa-3.0 Celebrity Equinox docked at Puerto Limón © flickr.com - Roger/cc-by-sa-2.0 Bonita Beach in Limón Province © AndSalX-WWECR/cc-by-sa-4.0 Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels in Cartago © Crisdiaz13/cc-by-sa-3.0 Costa Rica Yacht Club in Puntarenas © Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz/cc-by-sa-4.0 Costa Rica National Museum in San José © Fespinozalemistre/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Gallo pinto, a mixture of rice and black beans, is the typical breakfast dish of Costa Rica © Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz/cc-by-sa-4.0
Since the late 1980s, Costa Rica became a popular nature travel destination, and its main competitive advantage is its well-established system of national parks and protected areas, covering around 23.4% of the country’s land area, the largest in the world as a percentage of the country’s territory, and home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, in a country that has only 0.03% of the world’s landmass, but that is estimated to contain 5% of the world’s biodiversity. The country also has plenty of beaches, both in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, within short travel distances, and also several volcanoes that can be visited with safety. By the early 1990s, Costa Rica became known as the poster child of ecotourism (Tourism in Costa Rica).

Costa Rican cuisine is known for being fairly mild, with high reliance on fresh fruits and vegetables. Rice and black beans are a staple of most traditional Costa Rican meals, often served three times a day. Costa Rican fare is nutritionally well rounded, and nearly always cooked from scratch from fresh ingredients. Due to the location of the country, tropical fruits and vegetables are readily available and included in the local cuisine. Due to the contrast of Costa Rica’s large tourist economy with the many rural communities throughout the country, the foods available, especially in the more urban areas, have come to include nearly every type of cuisine in addition to traditional Costa Rican dishes. Cities such as San José, the capital, and beach destinations frequented by tourists offer a range of ethnic foods, from Peruvian to Japanese. Chinese and Italian food is especially popular with Ticos (the local name for anything Costa Rican), and can be found around the country, though with varying levels of quality. Food is an important aspect of Costa Rican culture, and family gatherings and celebrations are often centered around meals.

Read more on VisitCostaRica.com, Gran Hotel Costa Rica, Curio Collection by Hilton, U.S. Department of State – Costa Rica, Wikitravel Costa Rica, Wikivoyage Costa Rica and Wikipedia Costa Rica (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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