In Costa Rica Life Reaches it´s greatest expression
Costa Rica´s stunning scenic heritage unfolds in an ever-changing panorama, of steaming volcanoes, forested mountains,
dramatic skies and bucolic countryside.
Dark lowland jungles give away to rolling savannas; Pacific surf crashes agains rocky headlands, in sharp contrast to the tranquility of palm-fringed Caribbean beaches.
The climate is idyllic. In the lowlands (wich are dry in the Pacific northwest and humid elsewhere) daytime temperatures range in the 80 to 90 F° (High 20s to mid 30s C°)
Each year, Costa Rica welcome thousands of visitors to share the peaceful beauty and natural treasures of their country.
located in the tropical latitudes, between the giant biological influences of North and South America and borderen by two oceans, mountainous Costa Rica enjoys an immense diversity of climates and enviromental regions.
Twelve major life zones harbor an astounding amount of plant and animal life.
While costa Rica covers a mere 0.03% of the planet´s surface, the nation is endowed with over 5% of all life forms on earth.
Costa Ricans have preserved this invaluable biodiversity in protected areas covering fully one-quarter of the land and organized into major units called Conservation Areas. No other country in the world has so much actively protected area per capita. Costa Rica is often cited as a model for conservation in harmony
with community development and economic growth. National parks and reserves are open to the public at government established feeds.
Private reserves set their own entrances rates.
An impressive 22.647 miles (36.447 km.) of roads plus well-developed nature trail systems give easy access to every habitant and all but the most remote areas.
You can drive to the very edge of a volcanic crater, through the heart of a mountain, take an aerial tram ride in the rainforest canopy and soak up sun on a deserted beach, all on the same day in all but the most remote areas.
For the most fulfilling experience in the forest, it is important to go with an experienced naturalist guide. These woods do not give up their secrets easily. Indeed, the initiated can be overwhlemed by such all-pervasive greenness. A naturalist will explain the complex inter-relationships of species in the forest, help you identify the birds, etc.
Horseback riding in Costa Rica can take you along beaches, at the edge of country roads, through pastures and along forest trails.
Riding is great fun. Although not strictly necessary, a little equestrian experience will stand you in good stead since ranch horses are usually rounded up for trail duty. Lessons on how to control your mount and special assistance should be requested.
A place of cultural exchange
The Costa Rican penchant for taking the best of outside influences and adapting them goes back to pre-European contact. Cultural influences and materials from both continents are reflected in archeological findings. No jade deposits have been found in Costa Rica. Metallurgy techniques probably came from the south. Yet many artifacts exist in jade, gold, pottery and other materials, their design uniquely Costa Rican.
Exquisite examples of the high level of craftsmanship that was attained here can be admired at any of three downtown museums housing PreColombian exhibits:
- The National Museum
- The Gold Museum
- The Jade Museum
Costa Rica´s first university was established in 1843 although, in the early years, many of the coffee barons still preferred to send their children to Europe. They brought ideas and a taste for fine art and music that continues to this day.
In fact, the construction of the National Theater, the country´s premier architechtural showpiece which was completed in 1897, was financed largely through an export tax on coffee.
Free, compulsory education was established in 1917.
Today, children must attend school until the end of the 9th grade, after wich almost all scholarships and grants are available to continuing education.
Our own style
Historically an agricultural based economy, people maintain close ties with the land and owning even a small parcel is traditional.
Although rural in spirit, "Costa Ricans" embrace high tech and constantly look to the future. San José was the third city in the world to have electric lights!.
In the more consumer oriented Central Valley, Costa Ricans seem pretty much like North Americans. But strong traditions have forged a distinct national personality.