Costa Rica is cherished as one of the world’s most popular eco-tourism destinations. Thanks to its beautiful landscapes, pristine beaches, myriad adventure activities and proximity to the U.S., the country draws more than two million tourists each year. Learn more about this amazing nation with these 10 cool Costa Rica facts that helped make this paradise one of the “happiest countries” on Earth.
Costa Rica Facts
Education is both free and mandatory: Per a government decree in 1869, education is both free and mandatory for all citizens in Costa Rica. The country’s education system is ranked one of the top in all of Latin America, with more than 4,200 schools scattered throughout the nation.
There is no army: Former Costa Rican president, Jose Figueres Ferrer, abolished the Costa Rican national military in 1948. Since that time, the country has functioned peaceably with no civil unrest.
More than 25% of the country is protected: With no armed forces to support, the Costa Rican government has poured those funds into both public education and preserving the natural heritage. Today there are more than 100 protected areas consisting of reserves, wildlife refuges and national parks in Costa Rica.
Boasts 5% of the planet’s biodiversity: Though small in size (similar to West Virginia), Costa Rica is home to an estimated five percent of the Earth’s flora and fauna. The entire country spans just 19,730 square miles, but its multiple ecosystems and microclimates accommodate such diversity within its borders.
Excellent Health Care System: Costa Ricans enjoy one of the most modern public health care systems, which was recently ranked 36th in the world by the World Health Organization. Additionally, the country boasts one of the highest life expectancy rates at 77 years.
Renewable Resources: Almost 95% of Costa Rica’s energy is derived from renewable resources- either geothermal or hydroelectric means. With this abundance of clean energy, the country is well on its way to becoming entirely carbon neutral by 2021.
5th Greenest Country: According to the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), Costa Rica is the recognized at the fifth “greenest country on Earth”, thanks to its progressive environmental policies and government-sponsored reforestation programs.
One of the world’s Blue Zones: Based on scientific research, the Nicoya Peninsula was deemed one of the planet’s seven blue zones: areas where people live longer, healthier and happier lives. This is largely attributed to the outdoor lifestyle, closeness to family and healthy diet.
Stable democracy: Unlike many of its Central American neighbors, the government in Costa Rica is a stable democracy, with presidential elections that take place every four years. Current Costa Rican President, Laura Chinchilla, was the first female president elected in this country.
High Quality of Life: Costa Ricans live the Pura Vida by enjoying life’s little pleasures. Ticos, a term used to describe Costa Ricans, spend time with friends and family, enjoy meals together, and just explore the great outdoors in their beautiful country. According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Ricans enjoy the highest life satisfaction in the world. Now that’s Pura Vida!
Cool Costa Rica FactsJason Bateman4 September, 2013