Article by Charito Villegas, February 7, 2018 The Costa Rica News
Costa Rica, it is known for its beautiful natural scenery, its biodiversity and its wonderful habitants happy. Here are 14 interesting facts about Costa Rica to help make the country a truly unique place.
1. More than one-quarter of the land is dedicated to conservation. Tourists and locals alike feel attracted by the natural beauty of Costa Rica and undertake to preserve it. With 20 national parks, 8 biological reserves, refuges of animals, and protected areas, 26 percent of the lands of Costa Rica is protected.
2. Tourism is the leading source of foreign exchange for the country. All the natural beauty and diverse landscape with two oceans and access to a number of adventure activities have made Costa Rica a great holiday destination. In 1995, tourism overtook bananas to become the leading source of foreign exchange for the country. Tourism reached an all-time high for Costa Rica in 2013 with 2.4 million visitors.
3. Costa Rica is home to four UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have designated four places in Costa Rica as world heritage cultural and natural value. These are the National Park La Amistad, the National Park Cocos, the Guanacaste Conservation Area, and pre-Columbian settlements chiefdom with the stone of the Diquis spheres.
4. Costa Rica is one of the 23 countries in the world that does not have a standing army.
Costa Rica dissolved its national army in 1948, and the abolition of the military was written into the Constitution in 1949, committing to provide support military to Costa Rica (and any other signatory) where you need it. In 1980, the United Nations University for peace was created and hosted in Costa Rica.
5. It has one of the highest life expectancies in the world.
According to the World Bank, Costa Rica’s life expectancy at birth is 80 years. This figure is higher than that of the United States (which is 79). The Nicoya region in Costa Rica is also one of the five populated areas by the longest-lived people in the world around the globe. All that natural beauty and happiness must be very good.
6. There are more than 200 volcanic formations in Costa Rica. Costa Rica may not be a big country, but it stores a lot of life on its borders. While Costa Rica occupies only 0.03 percent of the world’s surface, it has the highest biodiversity density on the planet. The country is home to more than 500.000 species. And, with nearly 3 percent of the world’s biodiversity contained within its borders, Corcovado National Park has been considered “the most biologically intense place on the planet.”
7. There are many butterflies in Costa Rica. Seriously, there are so many butterflies. Costa Rica contains approximately 90 percent of the butterfly species found in Central America, 66 percent of all neotropical butterflies, and about 18 percent of all butterfly species in the world.
8. There are also more than 50 species of hummingbirds.
The 338 known species of hummingbirds, about 50 live in Costa Rica. The smallest hummingbird in Costa Rica (the Hummingbird scintillant masculine) weighs only two grams. The largest (violet brewing) weighs an average of 11.5 grams.
9. Residents in Costa Rica are called Ticos and Ticas. The Costa Ricans refer colloquially to themselves as the Ticos (masculine) and Ticas (feminine). This is due to its practice of adding the diminutive suffix “tico” at the end of most of the words. For example, a little, the diminutive is a little bit (a little), but the Costa Ricans rather say a poquitico.
10. The Tico and Tica couples use a sweet expression of affection.
Costa Ricans use the term “Media Naranja” your significant other.
11. Most of Costa Rica’s radio stations play the country’s national anthem at 7:00 am.
The national anthem unofficially called “Noble Patria, Tu Hermosa Bandera” was first heard in 1852 to receive diplomatic representatives from the United States and the United Kingdom. The song, with music by Manuel María Gutiérrez and written by José María Zeledon in 1903, was officially named the National anthem of Costa Rica in 1949.
12. Costa Rica did not use street signs until the year 2012.
While a GPS would show you the names of the streets, in Costa Rica locals use landmarks to give directions. To get to the National Theatre of San Jose, for example, you would take “left, turn 100 (meters) south of Banco Popular.” While San Jose residents used street and number names until the 20th century, the practice fell after a population boom in the years 1950 and 60. In 2012, the city undertook a project of US $1 million to re-introduce signs on the streets and a more regulated postal system.
13. Costa Rica lives by Pure life.
Costa Ricans often greet each other and say goodbye by saying “Pura Vida”. But pure life, is more than a way of talking about Costa Ricans, is a state of mind. Costa Ricans take every opportunity to live life to the fullest.
14. Costa Rica occupies the first place in the Happy Planet Index.
With pure life as its philosophy, it is no surprise that Costa Ricans consider themselves some of the happiest people on Earth. The Happy Planet Index uses three criteria, life expectancy, well-being, and ecological footprint to determine the overall happiness levels of 151 countries around the world. With a score of 64.0, Costa Rica tops this list.