Renowned around the world for its breathtaking natural landscape and unparalleled biodiversity, Costa Rica is a popular getaway destination. While you might think you know a lot about Costa Rica, there are likely some interesting and fun facts that you don’t know:
1. More Than 25 Percent of the Land in Costa Rica Is Dedication to Conservation
The natural beauty of Costa Rica beckons locals and tourists. Part of the reason for that is the fact that Costa Rica has a strong commitment to preserving its biggest asset. Boasting 20 national parks, eight biological parks, and numerous protected areas and animal refuges, more than a quarter of the land in this unique country is protected.
2. The Leading Source of Foreign Exchange is Tourism
Boasting access to two oceans, and miles of natural beauty, Costa Rica ranks as one of the most popular vacation and adventure destinations in the world. Since 1995, tourism has outranked bananas as the country’s leading source of foreign exchange.
3. Four UNESCO World Heritage Sites Are Located in Costa Rica
Four United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) locations can be found in Costa Rica. They are: Cocos Island National park, La Amistad National Park, the Precolumbia Chiefdom Settlements with Stone Spheres of the Dequis, and the Area de Conservation Guanacaste.
4. There Is No Standing Army in Costa Rica
Having eliminated its national army in 1948, Costa Rica is one of only 23 countries around the world that does not have an armed force. Almost two dozen countries, including the U.S., have pledged to provide military assistance to Costa Rica if the need should arise.
5. People Who Live in Costa Rica Have One of the Highest Life Expectancies
The average life expectancy in Costa Rica is 80 years, according to the World Bank. This is actually slightly higher than the average life expectancy in the U.S., which is 79.
6. Costa Rica Is Home to More Than 200 Volcanic Formations
Of the more than 200 volcanic formations in Costa Rica, some 100 have demonstrated some type of activity. The most active volcano in the country is Arenal.
7. Costa Rica Occupies Less Space than Lake Michigan
It’s well known that Costa Rica is small in size, but did you know that it is actually slightly smaller than Lake Michigan, with only 19,730 square miles, while Lake Michigan boasts more than 22,000 square miles?
8. More Than 5 Percent of the Entire World’s Biodiversity Can Be Found in Costa Rica
They say that great things come in small packages. That certainly appears to be the case in Costa Rica, where more than 5 percent of the entire world’s biodiversity can be found. In fact, Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 different species, and Corcovado National Park has been determined to be the most biologically intense location on the planet.
9. Costa Rica Is Home to a Large Population of Butterflies
Home to some 90 percent of Central America’s butterfly species, Costa Rica offers a sense of enchantment that you just cannot find elsewhere.
10. More Than 50 Species of Hummingbirds Make Their Home in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is home to a wide array of different types of hummingbird species, the smallest of which weighs a scant two grams, while the largest weighs more than 11 grams.
11. Street Signs Were Not in Use in Costa Rica Until 2012
Since locals commonly use landmarks to provide directions, the need for street signs has not existed until recently. In 2012, a $1 million project in the capital of San Jose resulted in the introduction of street signs.
12. Costa Rica Is the Happiest Place on Earth
While some people might think Disney World is the happiest place on earth, Costa Ricans might beg to differ. According to a Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica ranks as the happiest place on the planet in terms of life expectancy, ecological footprint, and experienced well-being.