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Costa Rica: Home

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.

Famous Personalities

  • 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

  • Books:
    • "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
  • Films:
    • "A Ojos Cerrados" (2010)
    • "El Camino" (2015)
    • "La Carreta" (1978)