Destination: Costa Rica

Official Name: Republic of Costa Rica
– 15 September 1821 (Independence from Spain)
– 01 July 1823 (Independence from Mexico) 
– 14 November 1838 (Independence from Federal Republic of Central America)
Population: 4,999,441 (2018 estimate)
Religion: 52% Catholic, 25% Protestant, 17% No religion
Language(s): Spanish (English is also commonly spoken)
Capital: San José
Order of Visit: Forty-Ninth 
First Visit: 24 January 2013
Last Visit: 01 February 2013 
Duration: 9 Days
Visit Highlights:
 La Fortuna: Boat ride across Lake Arenal, diverse and amazing wildlife or Costa Rica (lizards, various monkeys, sloths, caimans and birds), surviving Grade 4 white water rafting
 Monteverde: Toucan sighting, stunning sunset, zip-lining though the trees, exploring a forest at night, stunning mountain scenery
 Puerto Viejo: the beaches, Caribbean sea food, visiting the Animal Rescue centre, tasty organic ice cream
Places Visited: La Fortuna, Monteverde, Puerto Viejo, San Jose 
Costa Rica Journal Entries  

History and Geography 
Covering 51,100 square kilometres Costa Rica is a country in Central America bordered  by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Ecuador to the south.

Stone tools, the oldest evidence of human occupation in Costa Rica, are associated with the arrival of various groups of hunter-gatherers about 10,000 to 7,000 years BC.  Agriculture became evident in the populations that lived in Costa Rica about 5,000 years ago.  Most of the native population was later absorbed into the Spanish-speaking colonial society through inter-marriage.

Christopher Columbus sailed to the eastern shores of Costa Rica during his final voyage in 1502 and gave this area the name “la costa rica”, meaning “rich coast” in the Spanish language.

During most of the colonial period, Costa Rica was the southernmost province of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, nominally part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. In practice, the captaincy general was a largely autonomous entity within the Spanish Empire. Costa Rica’s distance from the capital of the captaincy in Guatemala, its legal prohibition under Spanish law from trade with its southern neighbour Panama, then part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada (modern day Colombia), and lack of resources such as gold and silver, made Costa Rica into a poor, isolated, and sparsely-populated region within the Spanish Empire.

Costa Rica never fought for independence from Spain. On 15 September 1821, after the final Spanish defeat in the Mexican War of Independence (1810–21), the authorities in Guatemala declared the independence of all of Central America. That  date is still celebrated as Independence Day in Costa Rica.

In 1838, long after the Federal Republic of Central America ceased to function in practice, Costa Rica formally withdrew and proclaimed itself a sovereign country. The considerable distance and poor communication routes between Guatemala City and Costa Rica meant the local population had little allegiance to the federal government in Guatemala which is why it broke away.

Coffee was first planted in Costa Rica in 1808, and by the 1820s, coffee surpassed tobacco, sugar, and cacao as a primary export. Coffee production remained Costa Rica’s principal source of wealth well into the 20th century, creating a wealthy class of growers, the so-called Coffee Barons. The revenue helped to modernize the country.

Costa Rica has enjoyed greater peace and more consistent political stability than many of its fellow Latin American nations. However Costa Rica has experienced two significant periods of violence in 1917 and 1948.

In 1917–19, General Federico Tinoco Granados ruled as a military dictator until he was overthrown and forced into exile. The unpopularity of Tinoco’s regime led, after he was overthrown, to a considerable decline in the size, wealth, and political influence of the Costa Rican military. 

In 1948, José Figueres Ferrer led an armed uprising in the wake of a disputed presidential election between Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia (who had been president between 1940 and 1944) and Otilio Ulate Blanco.  With more than 2,000 dead, the resulting 44-day Costa Rican Civil War was the bloodiest event in Costa Rica during the 20th century.  The victorious rebels formed a government junta that abolished the military altogether, and oversaw the drafting of a new constitution by a democratically elected assembly that exists to this day.

Costa Rica spends roughly 6.9% of its budget (2016) on education and is listed as the 12th happiest country in the World Happiness Report. Costa Rica’s economy includes significant sectors covering finance, corporate services for foreign companies, pharmaceuticals, and ecotourism.  Due to strong English language proficiency Costa Rica also provides client service support services for clients in English countries.

Sunset – Monteverde, Costa Rica (Taken 24 January 2013)

Zip-lining fun – Monteverde, Costa Rica (Taken 25 January 2013)

Sloth – Cano Negro Wildlife Reserve, Costa Rica (Taken 27 January 2013)

White water rafting – La Fortuna, Costa Rica (Taken 28 January 2013)

Toucan – Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica (Taken 31 January 2013)

What I experienced
A beautiful and unique Central America country that has a very big focus on the environment, education, and tourism and without an active military and instead a focus on the wellbeing of it’s citizens.  I loved my time in Costa Rica, strong and stable with good infrastruture.  

A stunning and picture perfect country, the majority of my time in Costa Rica I just soaked in the beautiful scenery and colourful wildlife.  When I wasn’t doing that I was undertaking physical activities in particular zip-lining though an amazing rainforest and white water rafting though crystal clear cool water (and ending up in that water multiple times).  If I was ever to settle in a Central American country Costa Rica would be my first and second choice.

Countries Visited List

About Nathan

A World traveller who has so far experienced 71 countries (76 by June 2023) in this amazing world.
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