Costa Rica

Brian Buttacavoli
Caroline Del Mazzio
Kevin Feddersohn
Brandon De Lima
Lisa Bingham
Danielle Rinehart


Map Out Costa Rica


Costa Rica At First Glance

Facts about Costa Rica

Government Type: Democratic Republic
Population: 4,195,914
Capital: San Jose
Provinces: Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, San Jose
Languages: Spanish (Offical), English
Legal System: Based on Spanish Civil Law
Cilimate: Tropical and Subtropical; Dry Season (December to April) & Rainy Season (May to November)
Religions: Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%
Natural Resources: Hydropower

Art from Costa Rica

"Mascara roja"
by Hernan Arevalo
by Roberto Escalante

Animals of Costa Rica


Exportas de Costa Rica

Café es un exporta mas importante que Costa Rica. Este es una plantación de café yo visité cuando fui a Costa Rica en 2005. El café de Café Britt es mejor que todos otros.

Traditional Dance


Something that is very popular for tourists in Costa Rica is Canopy Tours. This is just another way of advertising their zip lines over the rainforest. It is difficult to go very far in the country without seeing an advertisement for them. Basically, these are a number of zip lines that zig zag through and over the trees. If you go early in the morning you also have a good chance of seeing a lot of wildlife that tends to not be out during the day. Unfortunetly I do not have any video of my experience on these (probably the scariest thing I have ever done). However, I was able to find a video of someone on the same course I went on… Enjoy!

Costa Rican Cuisine


Casados is a traditional dish of Costa Rica. It usually includes a choice of chicken or beef, rice, black beans, fried plantain, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. Yummy!

"Huevos A la Ranchera" with rice and beans

Costa Ricans are known to have a wide variety menu for breakfast. The choices for the traditional Costa Rican breakfast are: Corn pancakes known as Chorreadas, scrambled eggs with onions or fried eggs in tomato sauce known as “A la Ranchera.” Fruit salad or cereals, generally corn flakes with slices of banana are both normal dishes for breakfast.

“Platano Asado”

Vegetables were not very popular with Costa Ricans, but the newer generations have become a bit more conscious of their eating habit. The usual meals that contain vegetables are “Picadillos” (minced chayote, vainicas (string beans), or potatoes with ground beef) or “Platano Asado” (Baked Plantain), which can be served with cheese as a side dish with lunch and dinner.


Costa Rican History

Although explored by the Spanish early in the 16th century, initial attempts at colonizing Costa Rica proved unsuccessful due to a combination of factors, including: disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives, and pirate raids. It was not until 1563 that a permanent settlement of Cartago was established in the cooler, fertile central highlands. The area remained a colony for some two and a half centuries. In 1821, Costa Rica became one of several Central American provinces that jointly declared their independence from Spain. Two years later it joined the United Provinces of Central America, but this federation disintegrated in 1838, at which time Costa Rica proclaimed its sovereignty and independence. Since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred the country's democratic development. Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector, Costa Rica has expanded its economy to include strong technology and tourism industries. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread.

Costa Rican Language

Main article: Languages of Costa Rica
See also: Central American Spanish
The only official language is Spanish. There are two main accents native to Costa Rica, the standard Costa Rican and the Nicoyan. The Nicoyan accent is very similar to the standard Nicaraguan accent due, in part, to its vicinity. A notable Costa Rican pronunciation difference includes a soft initial and double [r] phoneme that is not trilled as is normal in the Spanish speaking world.[43].

Jamaican immigrants in the 19th Century brought with them a dialect of English that has evolved into the Mekatelyu creole dialect.

Costa Ricans often refer to themselves as tico (masculine) or tica (feminine). "Tico" comes from the popular local usage of "tico" and "tica" as diminutive suffixes (e.g., "momentico" instead of "momentito"). The phrase "Pura Vida!" (approximately translatable to "This is living!", literal meaning "Pure Life!" as in "Distilled life!") is a ubiquitous motto in Costa Rica. Some youth use mae, a contraction of "maje" (mae means "guy/dude"), to refer to each other, although this might be perceived as insulting to those of an older generation; maje was a synonym for "tonto" (stupid).

Famous Costa Rican people

Óscar Arias Sánchez, Nobel Peace Prize winner (1987) and President of the Republic (1986–1990, 2006-current).
José Figueres Ferrer, National caudillo and President of the Republic (1948–1949, 1953–1958, and 1970–1974).
Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia, politician and social reformer. President of the Republic (1940–1944).
Franklin Chang-Díaz, Astronaut.
Clodomiro Picado Twight, Toxicologist.
Claudia Poll Olympic gold medalist.
Silvia Poll Olympic gold medalist.
Juan Santamaría The official National Hero.
Joaquín Gutiérrez a famed writer.
Francisco Amighetti Painter.
Jose Maria Castro Madriz President, supreme court justice, university founder, newspaper founder.

Costa Rican landscape pictures


A Fun Video to learn about Costa Rica

Houses in Costa Rica

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Costa Rica Surfing

A surfer’s paradise, Costa Rica has been a top surfing destination for some time now. The point breaks, beach breaks and perfect lefts and rights found here, all make this tiny Central American country a leading surfer hotspot in the world today. And with beaches that are usually very clean, pristine and rarely crowded, Costa Rica has indeed become a favorite surfer hangout, especially for those who want to take on some of the more challenging waves found on the planet.

With a fantastic coastal climate, year round warm water temperatures and both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts to contend with, Costa Rica has well over 50 famous surf breaks along its shoreline. Legendary and truly spectacular, the waves here are big and with the many reef breaks found along the coast, surfer’s here are in for hollow and fast rides. And though some of the surfer beaches maybe kind of hard to reach, due to poor road conditions, they are well worth the trip as the waves here are good all year round. Some breaks like Pavones have the longest rides in the world and is definitely worth the long trek to get there.

Less crowded than places like Sydney, Hawaii or Southern California, the beaches of Costa Rica have a lot to offer like inexpensive accommodations, hotels and resorts, top notch breaks, local clinics and surf rental shops with all the amenities. If you are surfing on Costa Rica’s Caribbean/Atlantic coast keep in mind that the surfing season is not very long here and most of the waves are produced by tropical storms off the Mexican coast. On the Pacific Coast however, the waves though smaller are more consistent, and are usually generated from low pressure troughs off New Zealand. Major swells can be found on the Costa Rican coast between the months of April and October, but it is from December to April that the surf is at its cleanest.

While the top five surf destinations are at Playa Hermosa, Playa Grande, Pavones, Witches Rock and Salsa Brava, some other popular surf points in Costa Rica are Dominical, Santa Teresa/Mal Pais, Playa Negra, Playa Junquillal and Playa Avellana. The surf at Playa Naranjo or Witches Rock is also very good with many surf scenes from the movie Endless Summer II filmed here.

While many surfers enjoy bringing multiple boards, I would warn against this. Bringing too many boards can limit your mobility, plus getting around with many surf boards can be very challenging. However, if something does happen either on the flight or while you are surfing, there are quite a few places where your board can be fixed, but for a price. Popular towns like Tamarindo and Jaco for example have a number of surf equipment rental and repair shops.

If you decide to travel by air to Costa Rica make sure you double check with the local airline to see if they accept surf boards as baggage. Sansa usually does accept them up to a certain length or out of the board bag. However, for an extra charge some surfboards are accepted. Sometimes Nature Air will not even take your board due to weight restrictions. On a flight to Tambor (Mal País) I had to abandon my board, luckily I had a friend in San José that picked my board up. Because of this most people on Costa Rica surfing trips rent cars. But do make sure you bring your own soft racks and straps as most rental cars don’t have them.

Best Costa Rican Surf Spots

Central & Southern Pacific :

Boca Barranca : It’s a river mouth with a very long left. Paved road. Lots of places to stay. Some of the best waves in the country specially for longboards.
Playa Escondida : Its located to the south from Jacó where you can get a taxi and head to an excellent point break that form a very good left and a surfable right.
Playa Jacó : Its 2 hours away from San José. This waves tend to close out when it gets over 5 feet. Close to a great quantity of places like playa Hermosa, Escondida, Barranca and Puntarenas. Lots of hotels, cabins, restaurants, bars and camp grounds.
Roca Loca : A rocky point next to Jacó with rights that break over submerged rocks.
Playa Hermosa : Very strong beach break. Its a long beach break but the preferred point its located in front of a large tree called "El Almendro". The waves conditions are generally best when the tide is rising.
Playa Dominical : Good, strong beach breaks with lefts and rights. Very tropical with beautiful landscapes.
Pavones : Excellent left point, considered one of the largest in the world. Good shape and very fast.

Caribbean :

Manzanillo : A very fast beach break located 20km from Puerto Viejo. Easy to get to.
Puerto Viejo : A very thick and voluminous wave that comes from deep water to a shallow reef. Its called "Salsa" for its juice power.
Black Beach, Cahuita : Excellent beach break, not well known and therefore not crowded. You can find waves there all year round.
Playa Bonita : A point reef break. Very thick powerful and dangerous left. 50km north of Limon.

Northern Pacific :

Potrero Grande : A right point, with very feast and hollow waves. 270km from San José with no road access. You have to go to Playas del Coco or Playa Ocotal and take a boat.
Playa Naranjo : "Roca Bruja" also called "Witch's Rock" one of the best beach breaks in the country with very strong offshore winds from December to March. Its located in the National Park Santa Rosa so a 4WD is a must.
Playa Grande : Beach Breaks located 20 min north of Tamarindo.
Playa Tamarindo : Here you can find two different points the first one is a rocky one called "Pico Pequeño" in front of the hotel Tamarindo, and "El Estaro" an excellent river mouth break.
Langosta : A right and left point break that curls off the mouth of the mouth of a small river, 1 km south of Tamarindo.
Avellanas : Good beach break, very hollow rights and lefts. 15km south of Tamarindo.
Playa Negra : A right point break with very fast waves. Restaurant and Cabins on the point.
Playa Coyote, Manzanillo and Mal Pais : Beach breaks, with very consistent lefts and rights and several points.

Butterfly Farms


Fun Facts about Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most popular adventure destinations in North America. From its natural beauty to its ancient artifacts, the lands and people of Costa Rica are as unique as its history. Read on to learn some fun facts about one of North America's most valued nations:

Though Costa Rica has its own currency most stores list prices in terms of U.S. dollars since there are so many U.S. tourists and access to U.S. dollars is easy. However, in order to exchange money, travelers must visit an official exchange, as illegal exchange of currency is forbidden. Head's up: most banks close at 3p.m.

Costa Rican travelers: be wary; Costa Rica is a stopping point along the well-known drug route through Central America. Though drugs and drug trafficking are illegal and punished quite severely, many tourists do get caught up in drug-money schemes, so tourists are warned upon arrival to guard their personal safety.

There are about 52 species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica, making Costa Rica a true North American hummingbird capitol. The Costa Rican hummingbirds are most often found in the rain forest, as they pollinate flowers in the area where bees cannot travel.
Monkeys are one of the most common mammals in Costa Rica - next to bats. There are about four common species of monkeys in Costa Rica, including the Howler money, Spider money, white-faced capuchin, and the squirrel monkey. Most monkeys live in groups of 10 to 40 with other animals.

There are four kinds of toucans in Costa Rica, including the keel-billed toucan, chestnut-mandibled toucan, collared aracari, and the fiery-billed aracari. Toucans are found almost entirely in or around the rain forest. There are also over 332 species of parrots, but only about five live in Costa Rica, including the scarlet macaw, great green macaw, red-lored parrot, white-crowned parrot and the barred parakeet.
Bug-phobists look out! There are about 750,000 species of insects that live in Costa Rica, including about 20,000 different types of spiders!

Guaro is the local alcoholic liquor of choice. The beverage is inexpensive and is made from sugar cane. Costa Rica also produces a fine coffee liquor - straight from the coffee bean.

Though Costa Rica is the second smallest Latin American country (it's only about 30,100 square miles), it's one of the most culturally and geographically exciting. The country borders the Caribbean and Pacific waters and has a broad mix of low lands and hilly volcanoes. As such hikers and water-lovers will be equally as impressed.
Vaccinations are not mandatory. However, there are Red Cross stations in just about every town throughout the country, making vaccinations readily available. Many hikers get vaccinated before traveling to the country, as Typhoid and Hydrophobia are common.

Costa Rica is one of the most valued environmental destinations in North America. Whether you're taking off for a backpacking trip, historic inquiry, or kayaking journey, Costa Rica is sure to provide an environment that cannot be replicated. Be sure to take your hiking boots and swimsuit - you never know when you'll hike to the top of a cliff only to jump into a crystal clear pool below!

Mi amiga Jordanne en Costa Rica!!

My friend Jordanne Moore just got back from Costa Rica last week! She said that it was very beautiful and not like anything that you would normally see at tourist attractions or websites. She was kind enough to provide me with some pictures that she took in Costa Rica when she was there. She said her favorite thing to do there was horseback ride. She also says hello, to you Professor Hughes, because apparently she has taken your linguistics class a while back. So here are some "Authentic" pictures in Costa Rica that will blow your mind!

She also said that the second best thing to do was feed the monkeys, because they are funny looking.

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Mi amiga Jordanne horseback riding en Costa Rica!

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