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Introduction to Costa Rica
- Capital: San José
- Official Language: Spanish
- Currency: Costa Rican colón (CRC)
- Pre-Colonial Period: Indigenous tribes such as the Chorotega and Huetar inhabited the region.
- Spanish Colonization: Costa Rica was colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century.
- Independence: Costa Rica gained independence from Spain in 1821 and joined the United Provinces of Central America.
- Republic Era: In 1848, Costa Rica became an independent republic after separating from the United Provinces.
Culture & Traditions
- Pura Vida: A popular Costa Rican phrase meaning "pure life" that reflects the country's laid-back and friendly culture.
- Cuisine: Traditional dishes include gallo pinto (rice and beans), casado, and ceviche. Coffee is a significant export and part of the culture.
- Music and Dance: Cumbia and salsa music, as well as traditional dances like the Punto Guanacasteco, are important elements of Costa Rican culture.
Geography & Environment
- Rainforests: Costa Rica is known for its lush rainforests, including the Monteverde Cloud Forest and Corcovado National Park.
- Volcanoes: The country boasts numerous volcanoes, with Arenal and Poás being popular tourist destinations.
- Beaches: Costa Rica offers stunning Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, featuring beaches like Manuel Antonio and Tortuguero.
- Óscar Arias Sánchez: Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former President of Costa Rica.
- Franklin Chang-Diaz: Costa Rican-American astronaut with seven spaceflights.
- Carmen Lyra (María Isabel Carvajal): Renowned writer and educator known for her contributions to Costa Rican literature.
Modern Costa Rica
- Economic Overview: Costa Rica has a diverse economy, including agriculture (bananas, coffee), technology, and tourism.
- Ecotourism: The country is a global leader in ecotourism, known for its biodiversity and eco-friendly practices.
- National Parks: Costa Rica has a wealth of national parks and protected areas, attracting nature enthusiasts from around the world.
Recommended Readings & Film
- "The Tigress" by María José Chaves
- "Costa Rica: A Traveler's Literary Companion" edited by Barbara Ras
- "The History of Costa Rica" by Ivan Molina
- "A Ojos Cerrados" (2010)
- "El Camino" (2015)
- "La Carreta" (1978)