COSTA RICA GENERAL INFORMATION
Costa Rica has been called a haven of democracy, and so it is. It is also a haven for wildlife with about 35% of the country being set aside as nature reserves and National Parks. Its people are friendly and highly educated. It’s communications and transportation infrastructure well developed.
All these benefits can be found in a small country about the size of West Virginia – a total of 51,000 square miles. On one side is the mighty Pacific Ocean, on the other the Caribbean, only three to four hours away from each other by land or 45 minutes by air.
The country’s strategic position, in the heart of the western hemisphere, the Government’s positive attitude towards foreign investment, its infrastructure, access to international markets, and labor quality and cost, make Costa Rica an ideal place to establish commercial operations.
Costa Rica extends majestically from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, and its distance is barely 200 miles. Its land portion occupies only 20 thousand square miles.
If you travel throughout the provinces of Costa Rica, it’s easy to notice that in no other place you shall find fields with so many variations in their landscape and climate as here.
Costa Rica is one of the most highly valued tourist destinations on the planet. This small piece of land includes all of the necessary components to satisfy the taste of thousands of travelers visiting each year.
Costa Rica’s territorial division includes 7 provinces, that is: San José, Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Guanacaste, Puntarenas, and Limón. Together they offer an attractive tourist destination, of almost limitless possibilities, that include extensive rainforests, volcanoes, rivers cascading through the mountains, beaches and natural resources safeguarded by an important organization of national parks and forest reserves
Heritage and Culture
Costa Rica culture is in many ways a reflection of its racial diversity. The predominant influence has long been European, which is reflected in everything from the official language (Spanish) to the architecture of the country’s churches and other historic buildings. The indigenous influence is less visible but can be found in everything from the tortillas that make part of a typical Costa Rican meal, to the handmade ceramics sold at roadside stands.
An important aspect of Costa Rica’s cultural legacy is their love for peace and democracy. The Ticos like to stand out that their nation is the exception in Latin America, where military dictatorships have long dominated politics.
They take pride in having more than one hundred years of democratic tradition, and almost half a century without an army. The army was abolished in 1948, and the money the country saves by not expending in military issues is invested in improving the Costa Ricans’ standard of living, which has fostered a culture of social peace that makes it such a pleasant place to visit.
The Ticos, as Costa Ricans are commonly known, are famous for their hospitality, and are quite happy to live up to their reputation. They are well-educated and hard-working people, quick with a handshake and a smile. They are well aware of the special land they inhabit, and most likely they will help foreigners when they get lost, even explaining things that might seem bizarre to foreigners, and making their stay as enjoyable as possible.
People say the Ticos are their nation’s greatest asset, and once you’ve experienced their friendliness and spontaneity, you’ll have no doubt to that regard.
GEOGRAPHY & CLIMATE:
Rugged highlands are found throughout most of the country, ranging from approximately 1,000 to 2,000 meters (3,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level). The Guanacaste Mountain Range, Central Mountain Range, and Talamanca Mountain Range are the main mountain ranges extending the entire length of the country. There are several active volcanoes (Arenal Volcano, Irazu Volcano, Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, and Turrialba Volcano) and the country’s highest mountain (Chirripo Hill) with a height of 3,819 m/12,530 ft. The country has a relatively long coastline in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as a number of rivers and streams that attract specialist kayakers and rafters from all over the world.
Costa Rica’s climate is pleasant with naturally occurring breezes cooling down much of the coastal areas in the evenings. Temperatures in the highlands and mountains are moderate, especially during the day, producing an ‘eternal spring’ feeling. The average annual temperatures range from 31.7°C (89°F) on the coast to 16.7°C (62°F) inland. The rainy or green season lasts from May to December with noticeably drier days during the rest of the year.
Enjoy the sun, but carefully
Going to the beach is a must when traveling to Costa Rica and a nice suntan is always possible. It is not advisable, however, to try to tan in just one day because it takes 24 to 48 hours for the skin to produce melanin, a dark pigment that reduces the aging process caused by sunburn. The healthiest thing for you to do is to use a PABA-free suntan or UV sun blocking lotion.
The Ticos, as Costa Ricans are commonly known, are a mixing of races. Though most of the country’s 3.3 million inhabitants descend from Spanish immigrants, many families originated in other parts of Europe, Asia, Africa and, indeed, Central America.
You may be surprised by the number of fair-skinned people you’ll see in the country, especially in the Central Valley.
In the lowlands, more people are mestizos -that is a mixture of European and Indigenous blood- whereas most along the Caribbean coast belong to an African lineage, and much of the Talamanca Mountain Range is inhabited by full-blooded Indians of various tribes.
Costa Rica has one of the most advanced telecommunications systems in Latin America, with telephones and fax machines all over the country, and an increasing number of businesses online. To call or fax Costa Rica, dial the country code 506 before the number. There is also mail service and a wide selection of courier services in San Jose. Most large hotels in the San Jose area have cable TV, with US and European stations. Newspapers and magazines from North America and several European nations are sold in many shops and hotels in and around the capital.
It’s easy to get around Costa Rica, and if you stick with public transport, traveling within the country can be quite inexpensive. There is a bus service to just about every town and city, and high-quality buses serving the main tourist destinations. Taxis are also plentiful and inexpensive, and in San Jose, they are required to operate with meters for most trips. The standard charge for a taxi ride between the international airport and downtown San Jose is $30 US. The quickest way to get around is to fly, and several domestic airlines offer daily flights to most of the popular tourist destinations. There are also plenty of car rental agencies, most of which rent four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Costa Rican system of government is very similar to that of the United States of America. There are three branches of government: Executive, which consists of the president, two vice presidents, and cabinet; the Legislative Assembly, with 57 individually elected deputies; and, the Judicial Branch, which consists of civil, criminal, appellate and constitutional courts. The President and members of the Legislative Assembly are elected for four-year terms and the president can’t run for reelection.
The President is Mr. Carlos Alvarodo
HEALTH & EDUCATION:
The Costa Rican government has long dedicated a significant portion of its national budget to education and other social services, a policy whose result has been a healthy and educated populace. The country has a literacy rate and average life expectancy that are much closer to those of Western European nations than most Latin American countries. Costa Rica has had a socialized medical system for nearly half a century, and while schools and clinics are found throughout the country, the Central Valley has several public universities and dozens of private universities.
Travelers are more likely to encounter more educated people and don’t have to worry about most of the diseases they would expect to encounter in a tropical country.
Tap water is safe to drink almost everywhere in the country, but bottled beverages are recommended in rural areas. For those few travelers that do become sick or injured while in Costa Rica, there are hospitals and private clinics in San Jose provide a level of care comparable to that found in the United States, and for considerably less money.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY:
Banks & Money
There is an ample selection of state-owned and privately held banks in San Jose, and throughout the country. The official currency of Costa Rica is the colon, however, US dollars are widely accepted. US dollars and traveler’s checks can be changed in banks and hotels. Most major credit cards are widely accepted, and cash advances can be obtained at banks around the country and a variety of places throughout San Jose.
Government offices are generally open from 8 am to 4 pm, while banks close anytime between 3:00 and 6:00 pm, according to the bank and its branch. Most shops are open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, while some open at 8:00 am and others close at 7:00 pm; most grocery stores close at 8:00 pm. Some shops also close for lunch, between noon and 1:00 or 2:00 pm.
You don’t have to drive very far in Costa Rica — past the coffee, pastures, bananas and other crops — to realize that agriculture is the basis of its economy. Coffee has historically been the country’s most important crop, and Costa Rica continues to produce some of the finest coffee in the world. However, in recent years less traditional crops have been playing an increasingly important economic role. Bananas are the second most important export crop, with vast plantations covering parts of the Caribbean lowlands, there is also significant land dedicated to the cultivation of pineapples, sugar, oranges, rice, hardwoods, and ornamental plants, as well as raising cattle for beef and dairy products.
Though government offices and most banks close on national holidays, this causes little inconvenience to travelers, since money and traveler’s checks can be changed at most hotels. We recommend that you do not change money on the street.
There are days when hardly anything will be open, such as Christmas, New Year and often a couple of days preceding, and during Holy Week from Wednesday to Easter Sunday.
Some holidays can be attractive for travelers, such as the last week of the year when there are parades and many other activities in San Jose and throughout the country. On July 25 every year (the annexation of the province of Guanacaste ), the main towns in this northwest province are overflowing with revelry and folklore. Carnival, which is celebrated in the Caribbean port of Limon during the week of October 12, is another colorful affair.
Our Partners in Costa Rica
We offer land transportation all over Costa Rica including shuttle services and guided private transportation. Please contact us, so that we can find you the best prices.
Costa Rica Fayla Tours
Your vacation in Costa Rica can be as relaxed as spending your days on a quiet tropical beach or as adventurous as white-water rafting, jungle exploration, surfing, moutain climbing, scuba/snorkeling, and volcano exploration. Check the list of Activities in Papagayo Area of Costa Rica offers the traveler many options when it comes to planning your itinerary.
Barrio Tabores 25mts Sur de Cancha de futbol 5, Provincia de Guanacaste, Guanacaste, Sardinal de Carillo, 50503
Have a look at the links to the right to get a glimpse of all the activities Costa Rica has to offer.
Costa Rica Real Estate
Properties in Costa Rica for sale and rent. Investment opportunities and real estate companies are listed here. You can also find valuable informational resources by contacting the links below that provide professional assistance in locating what you are looking for in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica Property listing
Costa Rica Property Listing specializes in Real Estate Properties in the Central Pacific Coast of the Costa Rica region known for its pristine beaches and an ideal climate. We provide the most comprehensive real estate and Relocation services in the region, whether your interests are in homes, Condos, lots or investment properties.
506 6225 8483
Puntarenas Province, Calle La Nacion Jaco
Costa Rica Property Listing Provides the most comprehensive real estate and relocation services in Jaco Costa Rica, whether your interests are in homes, condos, lots or Investment properties.
Malpais and Santa Teresa Properties
Purchasing real estate in Costa Rica involves more than simply finding the Right property and signing a contract. There are legal, cultural and Financial factors that must be weighed carefully.
Malpais Costa Rica. Shopping center Playa del Carmen, next to the pharmacy.
Santa Teresa Real Estate will Be your partner in guiding you through the process, working with you to Ensure that your experience in Costa Rica is productive and rewarding. We’ll Provide you with important information on legal issues, home, auto and Health insurance, banking, residency and all aspects of home design and Construction. And if you should choose to rent your home, our property Management service ensures that your investment in Costa Rica is well-cared For in your absence.