Costa Rica, a country located in Central America, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, is one of the main ecotourism destinations in the world. This authentic tropical paradise is known for its overflowing nature in its purest form, wild beaches, volcanic formations, quality of life, a wide range of adventure activities and, above all, for its amazing biodiversity.
This peaceful country claims to have been classified as “the happiest country in the world”, and to have one of the longest-lived and most stable democracies in the world.
Do you want to know some curiosities about Costa Rica?
Keep reading and you will find curious facts about the country, its people, its fauna and its gastronomy.
1- The country’s slogan is “Pura Vida”
It is the most used expression in the country; it is said above all to say hello, say goodbye or say thank you.
2- The Nicoya peninsula is one of the longevity “blue zones” of the planet
This means that the people who live in this region usually live more than 100 years. Nicoya is one of the 5 blue zones in the world and the only one in Latin America.
3- 99% of its energy comes from renewable sources
This is mainly due to hydroelectric power.
4- It is one of the most peaceful countries in the world
It is the headquarters of the UN University for Peace, among other international organizations, and maintains diplomatic relations with most of the countries of the world.
Former President Óscar Arias Sánchez received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for participating in the peace process about the Central American conflict of the 1980s.
5- Costa Rica does not have an army
After the civil war, which ended in 1948, the Constitution was approved in 1949, dissolving the army, but they can form special military forces to keep the peace.
6- Costa Rica is the largest pineapple producer in the world
And also one of the world’s leading banana exporters. Coffee is the third agricultural export product, behind pineapple, and bananas.
7- It was the first country in America to ban the hunting of animals for sport
In addition, being a country that protects nature, in 2014 they decided not to have any more animals in captivity, turning their 2 zoos into botanical gardens, maintaining an area to house the animals that have been rescued.
8- Literacy rate is 95%
Education in Costa Rica is compulsory and free. It is so important to the country that there are primary and secondary classes that broadcast some radio programs in order to reach children who live in isolated rural villages or far from school.
9- Costa Rica is the only confessional State in America
The official religion is Catholic.
10- Costa Rica has 7 active volcanoes
And there are more than 100 volcanic formations. The main volcano is Arenal, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Its last eruption occurred in 2010. The Poas volcano has one of the largest craters in the world.
11- Coco Island is one of the best places in the world to sight hammerhead sharks
This Costa Rican island, listed as a Natural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO since 1997 and which served as the setting for Spielberg’s film, Jurassic Park, was a haven for pirates for years. It is believed that there are hidden treasures there, but the great attraction of the place is the large schools of hammerhead sharks that attract many divers from around the world.
Curiosities about Costa Rica:
12- 94% of the population of Costa Rica are European or ‘mestizo’ (half-blood)
The country has a population of almost 5 million people. Almost half of the population lives in San José, and only 1% of the population has indigenous ancestry.
13.-Costa Ricans call themselves ‘ticos’ and ‘ticas’
This is due to the way they speak when using affectionate diminutives adding “tico” at the end of the word, instead of “tito”. During the Central American national war against the filibusters, Costa Rican soldiers called their compatriots “hermaníticos” (little brothers). Later, this word was simplified leaving “ticos” as a local name.
14- 20,000 different types of spiders live in Costa Rica
Spiders are some of the most poisonous animals in the country, such as the black widow. This spider has a venom 15 times stronger than the venom of a rattlesnake, although they are not aggressive spiders and only bite people in self-defense.
15- There are 140 species of snakes, 22 of them poisonous
When we were in Costa Rica, it was good for us to visit snakes to learn to distinguish poisonous snakes, which can be found in the national parks of Costa Rica. 80% of snake bites people are made by pit vipers.
16- In Costa Rica, the basilisks are often called Jesus Christ
The first time I saw one of these lizards was in the waters of the Tortuguero National Park, I was very curious to sight him rush over the water and hear how our boatman referred to it as a Jesus Christ, for its ability to imitate the biblical miracle of walking on water.
Its hind legs have dermal lobes that act as fins; when these are opened, the capacity of support on the surface of the water increases. After a few minutes it sinks and ends up swimming like any other lizard.
In some areas of Costa Rica, it is also known as gallego.
17- The National Bird is the yigüirro
Also called mirlo pardo, it sings announcing the arrival of the rain.
18- Thousands of turtles go to Ostional Beach in Guanacaste to spawn
This impressive phenomenon, which is called “Arribada”, occurs every year from April to December, but especially during September and October. It is believed that turtles always go to nest in this area because they are able to remember where they were born. It is estimated that they lay 10 million eggs a year.
19- The sun rises and sets at the same time each day
The season does not matter. This is due to its proximity to the equator. If routine is important for your quality of life, this is a good country to live in.
20- The first European to set foot in Costa Rica was Christopher Columbus, in 1502
In his honor they named the country’s currency: the colón. The banknotes are very colorful and are printed with images of monkeys, palm trees, butterflies, flowers, birds, deer and sloths (although in some places US dollars are better received).
21- In San José, there is one day a week when driving around the city is not allowed
This day corresponds to the last number of the registration. This was done in order to reduce and control pollution.
22- The diet of Costa Ricans is based mainly on rice, black beans, vegetables, and chicken
The popular breakfast is made up of these ingredients and is called gallo pinto. Other typical dishes of the country are casado, ceviche, pot of meat, tamales, green plantain empanadas, frojeadas and picadillo. You can taste good dishes in the informal restaurants of the country, which are called sodas.
Their main drinks are coffee, green coconut, guaro, and rum.
Interesting Costa Rica Facts:
23- Costa Rica was the first country in the world, outside the US, to have a McDonald’s restaurant, and the first country to franchise it internationally.
24- There are still cowboys in Guanacaste
In this region, they are known as sabaneros, although the custom is being lost due to the economic transformation that the country has undergone in recent years, especially with the massive arrival of tourism. In Costa Rica, Sabanero Day is celebrated every November 13th.
25- Blowing your nose in public is considered to be rude
26- Bahía Ballena beach is shaped like a whale’s tail
And from there you can watch whales.