Costa Rica has been a popular destination for nature travel since the late 1980s, and its main competitive advantage is its well-established system of national parks and protected areas, which cover about 23.4% of the country’s land area, the largest area in the world as a percentage of national territory, and are home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, in a country that makes up only 0.03% of the world’s land mass but contains an estimated 5% of the world’s biodiversity. The country also has many world-famous beaches in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea that are easily accessible by air and land, as well as several active volcanoes that are safe to visit.
In the early 1990s, Costa Rica became the poster child for ecotourism. According to the Costa Rican tourist board, 46 % of international tourists visiting the country in 2009 took part in ecotourism activities, including trekking, flora, fauna and bird watching, and visits to rural communities. However, most visitors are looking for adventure activities, which Costa Rica also offers. Costa Rica was included in the list of the 10 best ethical destinations in the developing world by Ethical Traveler magazine in 2011 and 2012.
Costa Rica has managed to stay out of the political turmoil and violence that still plague neighbouring countries. In the 1940s, the nation constitutionally abolished its army forever. The only Latin American country on the list of the 22 oldest democracies in the world, Costa Rica is a peaceful and politically stable nation. Costa Rica has consistently been among the top countries in Latin America in terms of the Human Development Index and is cited by the United Nations Development Programme as one of the countries that has achieved much higher human development than other countries with the same income level.
Costa Rica ranks third in the world and first in the Americas in the Environmental Performance Index 2010. And the New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica as the happiest nation in the world in 2009 and 2012. NEF has ranked Costa Rica as the “greenest” country in the world.
This nation has a bewildering variety of cultures, climates, flora, fauna and landscapes. From rainforests to tropical and dry temperate forests, volcanoes, Caribbean and Pacific beaches, high mountains and swampy plains.
The name Costa Rica means “rich coast” in Spanish.
Enjoying our content?
Subscribe and receive a weekly newsletter packed with awesome stories to inspire you!