WHY COSTA RICA?
Beauty, splendor, exoticism, and tranquility, come to mind when thinking about Costa Rica. These, of course, are all true. But, Costa Rica offers much more. Think charm combined with modernization.
Today, Costa Rica is a stable, democratic country that has maintained a peaceful, economically sound government since 1899. Its people enjoy relative affluence and prosperity. It has earned its nickname, the Switzerland of the Americas, because of its prosperity, forward thinking, enterprising nature, and neutrality toward other governments.
Its path to arriving as the gem of Central America was slow in coming, however. Little is known about Costa Rican ancient history. Europeans discovered it during one of Christopher Columbus’s expeditions to the new world in 1502.
It is said that Columbus gave Costa Rica its name, meaning rich coast. He called it such when encountering the indigenous people who wore thinly carved gold jewelry about their necks. However, some believe that Fernández de Córdoba chose the name approximately 30 years later when he established a settlement in 1539. Those who believe that Fernández de Córdoba gave it its name feel that he named it Costa Rica because of its fertile lands, splendid forests, and exotic and rare wildlife. However received, Costa Rica deserves its name. It is a land of plenty.
Truly verdant and plenteous, it was, however, not easy to subdue. Having a strong sense of pride, aboriginal people had no desire to be imprisoned in slavery. Instead, they retreated into the jungle. Spanish settlers, including officials, had to farm the land themselves. Trade was nearly impossible, as they had nothing, really, to trade, making the economy tenuous, at best.
Nevertheless, Costa Ricans persisted. Survival, hard work, and pride in themselves, principles formulated from the time of Spanish rule to the present day, bridged a sense of equality and a need for a more egalitarian government. In 1882, Costa Rica, along with the rest of Central America, seceded from Spanish rule. It was primed for Democracy in 1899. Once it found democracy, Costa Rica held onto it tenaciously and has enjoyed democracy for over one hundred years.
A country with high standards for education, Costa Rica has not neglected its arts. Progressive in thinking, Costa Rica has opened its ways to Western culture. Art, music, theater, and dance, flourish in the main cities, with its countryside citizens catching up.
One of the most promising of the arts, The National Symphony orchestra has gained worldwide attention since the 1970’s. The orchestra performs in the beautiful National Theater generating enthusiastic reviews.
In addition to enjoying classical music, Costa Ricans love to dance. Many of their musical influences for dancing derive from Pre-Columbian, African, Afro-Caribbean, and other South and Central American music. Ticans like to get together often to dance either in discos or among themselves.
Folk Dancing too, is well enjoyed and supported. Exciting, lively, and boisterous, in bright, frilly, costumes, folk dancers enthrall their audiences. Visitors and natives alike enjoy watching and participating in traditional dance.
Audiences are entertained by theater productions, as well. Passionate about their theater, Costa Rica keeps its dramatic arts successful. Little dramas or comedies, from puppet shows to larger productions, flourish everywhere in San José. It is said that per capita, Costa Rica has more theater companies than elsewhere worldwide.
The beautiful San José Museum of Art houses many unrivaled works by local artists. Newly financed and encouraged, fine art and crafts enjoy a new birth. In addition to fine arts, artisans are beginning to research their roots and are recreating crafts once lost.
A discussion about Costa Rican culture is not complete without informing visitors about food and eating. Costa Ricans enjoy fine dining in many restaurants throughout the countryside. San José boasts a number of elegant eateries matching any fine restaurant in the world.
Restaurants are not all there is worth mentioning when it comes to dining. Their food stands apart. With so much ideal weather and fertile land for crops, Costa Rican produce is fresher than fresh – it is perfect!
A new resident or tourist will recognize some of the fruit in supermarkets and on menus. Bananas, mangoes, cashews, pineapples, melons, and strawberries, are common in most markets. Other delectables native to the region such as, guayabas, tamarindo, and carambolas, might be surprising in shape, as they might have spines, or look like sea urchins, but are really fruit. Always delicious, Costa Rican fruit can be a real adventure for sight, smell, and of course, taste.
When referencing fruit, one need identify fruits of the sea – fish. With two coasts, the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, Costa Ricans eat many varying types of wonderfully fresh fish. Fish can be bought in many markets and supermarkets and is a staple in restaurants and home cooking.
Another Costa Rican staple is beef. A cattle-ranching country, their beef is excellent and less expensive than chicken and pork. In fact, beef is one of Costa Rica’s exports, making its way to markets worldwide.
A discussion about Costa Rican food and global markets would not be complete without pointing to coffee. For a long time, coffee was Costa Rica’s primary export and one of its most central industries. Among the finest in the world, it continues to be a highly sought after product as it remains the choice of many.
Costa Rica means rich coast. Yes, it is a rich, well-lived, modern, lifestyle. Mostly, however, it is rich in exquisite paradisiacal pleasure.
One of the most attractive provinces in Costa Rica is the Province of Guanacaste. The climate in Guanacaste is a little drier than the rest of the country, making it ideal, with temperatures averaging at 27шC or 82ш F. Guanacaste, on Costa Rica’s Paci fic coast, provides a wish-fulfilled lifestyle in paradise affording the most luxurious properties and residences.
The name Guanacaste is derived from quahnacaztlan, a native word for the guanacaste tree, which is Costa Rica’s national tree. With an airport in Liberia travel, to Guanacaste is easy, making it a prime location in Costa Rica.
Costa Rican rising economy began with Costa Rica’s first elected Chief of State, in 1824, President Juan Mora Fernandez. President Fernandez understood the importance of exportation to their economy. Under his administration, exporting coffee and other agricultural produce, brought growth to the country.
Today, Costa Rica’s economy derives from science and technology. This change is due to recent administrations’ push towards improving sciences in schools. Already a strong school system, Costa Rica has a higher literacy rate than the United States. These alterations make the effectiveness of their schools keener, and Costa Ricans more competitive in world markets.
Outsourcing is an offshoot of these changes. Companies in the United States and elsewhere are outsourcing to Costa Rica because of the strength of the government, education system, strong work ethic, and economical rates of workers and materials. In turn, outsourcing helps impel Costa Rican economy.
Real Estate opportunities are also driving the economy upward. Many people ready to invest, are choosing Costa Rica for their retirement and investment residences.
Ecotourism draws people from everywhere, generating many businesses. Water sports abound, from superb snorkeling, fishing, scuba diving, to sunset sails. Its’ perfect climate makes enjoyment under the sun, ideal. Many national parks attract visitors daily. Costa Rica is so unique, with rainforests, volcanoes, butterflies of numerous species, birds of every color and shape, and other distinctive and mysterious animals and nature.
With all of these industries and more increasing daily, Costa Rica is in position for true prosperity.
The Costa Rican government is a democracy headed by an elected President and two elected Vice Presidents. It is primarily based on the Spanish Judicial system with checks and balances.
The 57 member Legislative Branch, Unicameral Legislative Assembly, or Asamblea Legislativa, are elected officials serving four-year terms.
Their Supreme Court, or Corte Suprema, consisting of 22 members, serve eight-year terms, and are elected by the Legislative Assembly.
The Costa Rican climate is ideal. With two distinct seasons, the dry or summer season, runs from November through the beginning of May. The rainy or winter season, starts in early May and lasts through October. These seasons are typical for the Central, Southern, and Northern Pacific regions, which includes all of Guanacaste.
Temperatures in Costa Rica reach an average of 24.9ºC (76.8ºF) for the coasts, 16.3ºC (61.3ºF) for the mountain regions, and between 20.0º – 22.0ºC (68º – 72ºF) in the Central Valley.
On average, November, December, and January, tend to be the coolest months, while April and May are usually the hottest. Depending on altitude, the Pacific Coast is generally warmer than the Caribbean Coast.