Costa Rica is on its own, lonely at the top. It's not an island, but paradise nevertheless. Yet, it has so much more than just deserted bounty style beaches with crystal clear waters. It is paradise for every one. This country is so diverse that all visitors will fulfil their vacation wishes. The best part is its compactness. It just takes a day to drive from north to south and just a few hours from east to west. The fascinating part is that it just takes one hour driving to get to a totally different environment.
Flora & Fauna
The diversity of nature is something else. This country claims just 0.03% of the earth's surface and yet it's home to 6% of the world's biodiveristy. Although you will for sure encounter many of the flora and fauna species 'on the road', the majority is to be found in the 35 dedicated National Parks all around the country. Each park has its own characteristics and theme, obviously due to the diverisity of climates.
Costa Rica is the pearl of Central America (don't tell Panama we say so). This country has it all: unlimited adventure options and abundant in flora & fauna, the best climate in the world and lovely inhabitants. More and more travelers discover Costa Rica as a great tourism destination and once visited, they come back every year. Visit Costa Rica yourself and you'll find out why. Really!
Click here to read more about Costa Rica per province.
SURF & FUN
Costa Rica has a long established reputation among surfers for consistent waves and uncrowded waters. 1200Km of coast line and in every little town, at sunset you can have a cocktail while listening to live music.
Costa Ricans call themselves Ticos and they are proud of it. Tico for men and Tica for women- Ticos for men and women combined. The day starts early, preferably before sunrise- and sunrise is before six. Make sure you get in the tico rhythm. They life here so they know. They all use the same roads but have different ways of transportation. Many walk, others have the luxury of owning a bicycle or even better, a horse. Public transportation is reliable and cheap, so the majority travels by bus.
Ticos are generally extremely friendly and laugh all day long. At first they seem shy, but if you show them a laugh and a smile yourself, they become open and welcoming. Everyone (definitely in the country side) is helpful and willing to share, even if they can’t afford it.
The more they are used to tourist, the more likely they speak English. Don’t expect a farmer to speak anything else than Spanish, which doesn’t mean he is not willing to understand you.
The Tico culture is a reason by itself to visit Costa Rica. It’s not one typical culture; it’s as diverse as the geological diversity. A few common characteristics are friendliness, happiness and respect. If you respect the ticos and their land, they in turn will respect you.
“Pura Vida” is a phrase Ticos use to either say “goodmorning”, “hello”, “you’re welcome”, “I’m fine”, “thank you” and many more. We believe an average Tico uses the two word phrase at least thirty times a day.
NICE & GREEN
Ecotourism was practically invented in Central America. Costa Rica has the region's most organized network of national parks and reserves; 27 percent of the country's territoy is protected.
Hot & Cold
When you travel from A to B, you are likely to experience many differences in altitude. This means that you will encounter numerous micro climates during just a few hours of travelling. In other words: expect sun, clouds, rain, rainbows, low and high temperatures, all during one single journey.
“One moment you wander around in the freshness and humidity of a cloud forest while the next moment you could be snorkelling the underwater world at one of the many empty white sanded beaches. When the sun gets to hot on your shoulders you might want to relax under a palm tree enjoying a self fetched refreshing pipa (coconut)”
This country claims just 0.03% of the earth’s surface and yet it’s home to 6% of the world’s biodiversity. To some it up in number of species:
- 9000 identified plants
- 900 identified trees
- 850 identified birds
- Over 200 mammals
- Over 220 reptiles
- 160 amphibians
- 35 000 insects (many butterflies)
Another result of the country’s diversity is the great number of activities provided: Rivers, Jungles, Mountains, Beaches, Forests, Volcanoes, Lakes, Hot Springs, Oceans and Canyons are the scenarios for the Adventure and Nature activities.
RICE & BEANS
Food in Central America is fairly basic- the standard diet is rice and beans accompanied by chunks of meat, fried fish or chicken (sometimes eggs). The typical dish Rice&Beans is a must if you're travelling to the Caribbean.
The basics of the Tico Cuisine are rice, black beans and cilantro. What comes with that depends on what part of the country you find yourself in. Throughout whole Costa Rica the typical Tico dish served is called ‘Casado’ which is a combination of rice, beans, vegetables, meat or fish or chicken and occasionally a fried egg, patate frite or some salad.
Inland the menu states different kind of soups, chicken dishes, meat dishes and a lot of vegetable variations. On the coasts you’ll be overwhelmed by the variation of seafood. When relaxing on the east coast, don’t leave without having tried ‘Rice & Beans’, the coconut flavoured, extremely favourite Caribbean dish.
The Tico breakfast is called ‘Gallo Pinto’ and exists of rice, beans and eggs prepared to your liking. The main meal is lunch and is served at noon. Diner could be a warm dish again, but many prefer a lighter variation in the form of a salad, sandwich or a few bocas (tapa style tasty snacks).
NOTE: Visiting Costa Rica does not mean rice and black beans for breakfast, lunch and diner every day, although it’s not as boring as it sounds. Reasonably sized and tourism related towns have a more international orientated menu.