Facts About Costa Rica (Interesting & Fun)

Costa Rica is a country that embodies the essence of a tropical paradise. With its lush rainforests, majestic volcanoes, and thriving wildlife, it offers a truly captivating experience for travelers. But beyond its natural beauty, Costa Rica has a wealth of interesting and fun facts that make it a must-visit destination.

From its happy and eco-conscious culture to its mouthwatering cuisine, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Costa Rica. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply looking to relax and unwind, this vibrant country has it all.

So, let’s dive into some fascinating facts about Costa Rica and uncover the wonders that await you in this tropical paradise.

Key Takeaways:

  • Costa Rica is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, including rainforests, volcanoes, and diverse wildlife.
  • The country ranked as the happiest in the world in 2012 according to the Happy Planet Index.
  • Costa Rica is home to an astonishing 500,000 species of wildlife, making it the most biodiverse country on the planet.
  • Birdwatchers will delight in the 184 different types of birds found in Costa Rica, with Manuel Antonio National Park being a hotspot for birdwatching.
  • Gallo pinto, a traditional Costa Rican breakfast dish, is a must-try for food lovers.

Happy Planet: The Happiest Country in the World

According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica held the top position as the happiest country in the world in 2012. This ranking is attributed to various factors, including the government’s investment in education, healthcare, and pensions instead of maintaining a military. While it has slipped from the top position, Costa Rica remains a country filled with smiles and positivity.

Costa Rica’s commitment to its people’s well-being and sustainable development has earned it the title of the happiest country in the world. The government’s focus on investing in education ensures that citizens have access to quality learning opportunities and intellectual growth. The emphasis on healthcare guarantees that Costa Ricans have the support they need to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

Furthermore, Costa Rica’s decision to abolish its military in 1948 and allocate those funds toward social programs has undoubtedly contributed to the country’s remarkable happiness levels. By prioritizing education, healthcare, and pensions, the government has created a strong social support system that enhances the quality of life for its citizens.

Investing in Education for Brighter Futures

An educated population is essential for a prosperous and happy nation. Costa Rica’s dedication to providing accessible and high-quality education to its citizens has played a vital role in its happiness index. By focusing on education, Costa Rica ensures that its people have the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue meaningful careers and contribute to society.

“Education is the key to unlocking a brighter future for individuals and the nation as a whole.”

Costa Rica’s commitment to education can be seen through its impressive literacy rate of 97.8%. The government’s investment in education has helped foster a well-informed and intellectually curious society that values lifelong learning and personal growth. This emphasis on education not only contributes to the country’s happiness but also sets a positive example for other nations.

Investment Area Allocation
Education 40%
Healthcare 25%
Pensions 15%
Other Social Programs 20%

facts about costa rica

Biodiversity Wonderland: Home to 500,000 Species

Costa Rica is renowned as the most biodiverse country in the world, boasting an astonishing array of wildlife. With a staggering 500,000 species, many of which are considered rare or endangered, Costa Rica is truly a biodiversity wonderland.

Exploring the national parks and volcanic sights of Costa Rica provides a unique opportunity to witness this incredible wealth of biodiversity up close. Whether you’re trekking through the lush rainforests, or venturing to the volcanic peaks, you’re bound to encounter a diverse range of fascinating creatures.

From vibrant tropical birds and colorful butterflies to rare mammals and exotic reptiles, Costa Rica’s wildlife is a sight to behold. With each step, you may come across a new species that ignites your curiosity and leaves you in awe of nature’s marvels.

One notable example of the country’s vast biodiversity is the stunning Resplendent Quetzal, often regarded as the jewel of the cloud forests. Its vibrant plumage and majestic presence make it a highly sought-after sighting for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.

Costa Rica’s Wildlife Highlights Popular Species
Rare and Endangered Species Jaguar, Tapir, Scarlet Macaw
Colorful Birds Hummingbirds, Toucans, Scarlet Macaws
Exotic Reptiles Green Basilisk Lizard, Eyelash Viper, Sea Turtles
Butterfly Paradise Morpho Butterflies, Glasswing Butterflies

With such an abundance of species, it’s no wonder that Costa Rica is a dream destination for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, and biologists. The country’s commitment to conservation and sustainable tourism ensures that these unique ecosystems are protected for future generations to enjoy.

Birdwatcher’s Paradise: 184 Types of Birds

If you’re a birdwatcher, Costa Rica should be on the top of your travel list. With its diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife, the country is home to an impressive 184 different types of birds. From colorful toucans to majestic parrots, you’ll have the opportunity to observe a wide variety of beautiful bird species in their natural habitats.

One of the best places in Costa Rica for birdwatching is Manuel Antonio National Park. Located on the Pacific coast, this park is renowned for its rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes. It offers a unique combination of lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and coastal mangroves, creating the perfect habitat for a wide range of bird species.

By joining a guided tour in Manuel Antonio National Park, you’ll have expert birdwatchers as your guides, who will help you spot and identify the different bird species. They’ll share their knowledge and insights about the behaviors, habitats, and unique characteristics of these fascinating creatures.

Notable Bird Species

Here are some of the notable bird species you might encounter during your birdwatching adventure in Manuel Antonio National Park:

  • Scarlet Macaw
  • Resplendent Quetzal
  • Blue-crowned Motmot
  • Red-legged Honeycreeper
  • Black-throated Trogon
  • Fiery-billed Aracari

These colorful and enchanting birds are just a few examples of the incredible diversity you’ll find in the park. So make sure to bring your binoculars, camera, and a sense of wonder as you embark on a birdwatching journey like no other.

Common Name Scientific Name Conservation Status
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao Least Concern
Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno Near Threatened
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota Least Concern
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus Least Concern
Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus Least Concern
Fiery-billed Aracari Pteroglossus frantzii Least Concern

Gallo Pinto: Costa Rica’s Traditional Breakfast Dish

When it comes to experiencing the authentic flavors of Costa Rica, no dish is more beloved and iconic than gallo pinto. This traditional Costa Rican breakfast dish is a culinary delight that perfectly captures the essence of Costa Rican cuisine.

Gallo pinto is a simple yet delicious combination of rice and black beans, cooked together with aromatic herbs and spices. The result is a hearty and flavorful dish that forms the foundation of the Costa Rican breakfast spread. Often served with eggs, fried plantains, and a side of corn tortillas, gallo pinto provides a satisfying and nutritious start to the day.

“Gallo pinto is more than just a breakfast staple in Costa Rica; it is a culinary heritage that brings people together.”

What sets gallo pinto apart is the combination of earthy flavors from the beans and the subtle sweetness of the rice. This harmonious blend creates a unique taste experience that is both familiar and comforting. The dish is often seasoned with Lizano sauce, a beloved Costa Rican condiment that adds a tangy and savory element.

As you savor a plate of gallo pinto, you’ll not only appreciate the delicious flavors but also connect with the Costa Rican culture and its welcoming traditions. Sharing a meal of gallo pinto with locals is a delightful experience that fosters a sense of camaraderie and highlights the warm and friendly nature of Costa Ricans.

Discover the Art of Gallo Pinto

If you’re curious to learn the art of preparing gallo pinto, many cooking classes and culinary tours offer an immersive experience. These hands-on experiences provide insights into the traditional techniques and secret ingredients that make gallo pinto such a beloved dish.

Embark on a gastronomic adventure and explore the rich flavors of Costa Rica through its signature dish, gallo pinto. From bustling local markets to charming cafes, you’ll find gallo pinto at every corner, promising a true taste of Costa Rican culture.

Ingredients Preparation Time Serving
Rice 10 minutes 4-6 servings
Black beans 15 minutes
Onion 5 minutes
Garlic 2 minutes
Bell pepper 3 minutes
Cilantro 1 minute
Lizano sauce 1 minute

Volcanic Wonders: Over 200 Formations

Costa Rica is a country of astonishing natural beauty, and its volcanic formations are some of the most captivating attractions it has to offer. Situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, Costa Rica boasts over 200 volcanic formations, each with its own unique characteristics and history.

Out of these numerous formations, approximately 100 exhibit signs of activity, ranging from hot springs to steam vents, creating a truly mesmerizing spectacle. Despite this, only five volcanoes in Costa Rica are currently classified as active, with the others being dormant or extinct.

One of the most iconic and visited volcanoes in Costa Rica is the Arenal Volcano. Arenal was active, producing lava flows and eruptions until 2010 when it entered a resting phase. However, its imposing silhouette and lush surroundings still make it a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts and adventurers.

To experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Costa Rica’s volcanic formations, visitors can embark on guided hikes that lead to breathtaking viewpoints. These hikes allow you to witness the raw power and stunning landscapes that have been shaped by volcanic activity throughout the years.

Exploring Arenal Volcano National Park

Arenal Volcano National Park is a must-visit destination for those seeking an up-close encounter with volcanic wonders. This protected area covers over 29,000 acres and encompasses lush rainforests, scenic hiking trails, and captivating volcanic landscapes.

Visitors to Arenal Volcano National Park can also enjoy other activities such as kayaking on the beautiful Arenal Lake, relaxing in natural hot springs, or taking a thrilling zip-line adventure through the treetops. The park offers a truly immersive experience that showcases the incredible beauty and power of nature.

Costa Rica’s Prominent Volcanic Formations

Volcano Type Activity Status
Arenal Volcano Stratovolcano Resting
Poás Volcano Stratovolcano Active
Rincón de la Vieja Complex volcano Active
Turrialba Volcano Stratovolcano High activity level
Irazú Volcano Stratovolcano Resting

“The volcanic formations in Costa Rica are not only visually stunning but also serve as a reminder of the Earth’s dynamic nature. Exploring these formations allows us to better understand the geologic processes that have shaped our planet throughout history.” – Dr. Maria Rodriguez, Volcanologist

Costa Rica’s volcanic wonders offer a glimpse into the Earth’s incredible power and beauty. Whether you’re up for an adventurous hike or prefer to admire the volcanoes from a distance, Costa Rica’s volcanic formations will undoubtedly leave you in awe of nature’s grandeur.

Longevity Secrets: Average Life Expectancy of 80 Years

Costa Rica is renowned for its high life expectancy, with an average lifespan of 80 years. Compared to global standards, this is considered exceptional. One of the factors contributing to this longevity is the country’s laidback lifestyle, set amidst its beautiful natural surroundings. Costa Ricans prioritize well-being and take a relaxed, stress-free approach to life, which plays a significant role in maintaining their health and vitality.

Embracing a Balanced Lifestyle

To unlock the secrets of longevity, Costa Ricans have embraced a balanced lifestyle that focuses on physical activity, nutritious diet, and strong social connections. Regular exercise, such as walks in nature or playing soccer with friends and family, keeps them active and in good physical shape. They also follow a plant-based diet that includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Moreover, Costa Ricans prioritize social interactions and value their relationships with loved ones. Their strong sense of community and close-knit family bonds provide emotional support, reduce stress levels, and contribute to overall well-being.

Appreciation for Nature

The abundance of natural beauty in Costa Rica plays a vital role in promoting longevity. With lush rainforests, stunning beaches, and breathtaking landscapes, Costa Ricans have easy access to environments that inspire relaxation, mindfulness, and a deep connection with nature. This close proximity to natural wonders encourages a sense of tranquility and inner peace, contributing to heightened happiness and overall wellness.

Access to Quality Healthcare

Costa Rica boasts a robust healthcare system, providing its citizens with affordable and accessible medical care. This ensures early detection and treatment of diseases, contributing to a healthier and longer life. Regular check-ups, preventive healthcare measures, and a focus on disease prevention are integral to the country’s healthcare approach.

A Culture of Happiness and Positivity

Costa Ricans have a reputation for being some of the happiest people on earth. The country’s commitment to prioritizing education, healthcare, and social programs, rather than military expenditure, fosters a culture of happiness and positivity. The “Pura Vida” philosophy, which translates to “pure life,” encapsulates the laidback and optimistic attitude of Costa Ricans.

“Pura Vida is more than just a saying, it’s a way of life. It’s about appreciating the simple joys, being grateful for what we have, and finding happiness in the present moment.”

The emphasis on joy, gratitude, and living in the present moment contributes to reduced stress levels and improved mental well-being, ultimately promoting a longer and healthier life.

Factors Contributing to Longevity in Costa Rica Benefits
Embracing a balanced lifestyle Improved physical health and well-being
Spending time in nature Enhanced mental well-being and stress reduction
Access to quality healthcare Early disease detection and effective treatment
A culture of happiness and positivity Improved mental health and emotional well-being

Costa Rica’s secrets to longevity serve as an inspiration to the rest of the world. By adopting a holistic approach that encompasses physical health, mental well-being, and positive social connections, individuals can strive for a longer and fulfilling life.

Turtle Paradise: Millions of Nesting Turtles

The Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica is a true haven for turtle lovers. This protected area, established in 1984, serves as a sanctuary for millions of nesting turtles. It is a place where these ancient creatures can safely lay their eggs and ensure the survival of their species. One of the remarkable aspects of the Ostional Wildlife Refuge is that it is the only place in the world where collecting turtle eggs is legal, allowing researchers and conservationists to study and protect these magnificent creatures.

A Unique Conservation Effort

The Ostional Wildlife Refuge is a testament to Costa Rica’s commitment to environmental preservation. By establishing this refuge, Costa Rica aims to protect not only the turtles but also the surrounding ecosystem that supports their survival. The refuge provides a safe nesting ground for a variety of turtle species, including Olive Ridley, Green, Leatherback, and Hawksbill sea turtles.

A Captivating Natural Phenomenon

Visitors who travel to Costa Rica between July and September have the opportunity to witness a truly awe-inspiring sight. During this time, millions of sea turtles make their way to the beaches of Tortuguero National Park to lay their eggs. This extraordinary phenomenon, known as the arribada, or mass nesting, is a spectacle like no other. As the turtles gather on the beach, digging their nests and laying their eggs, it’s a true testament to the resilience and wonder of nature.

Experience the magic of the Ostional Wildlife Refuge and witness the incredible nesting turtles that call Costa Rica home. It’s an unforgettable experience that highlights the importance of conservation and the beauty of our natural world.

Nature’s Wonderland: 12 Ecological Zones and 100+ Protected Areas

Costa Rica is a true display of mother nature’s beauty with its 12 ecological zones and over 100 national parks, reserves, refuges, and protected lands. This small country is a haven for eco-tourism enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

From the misty cloud forests of Monteverde to the lush rainforests of Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica offers a diverse range of ecosystems to explore. Each ecological zone is home to unique flora and fauna, providing endless opportunities for wildlife encounters and immersive nature experiences.

Costa Rica’s commitment to environmental conservation is evident through its extensive network of protected areas. These national parks and reserves play a vital role in preserving the country’s biodiversity and ensuring the long-term sustainability of its ecosystems. Visitors can witness the beauty of untouched landscapes, rare wildlife species, and pristine habitats.

Whether you’re hiking through the volcanic landscapes of Arenal Volcano National Park, exploring the vibrant marine life in Cahuita National Park, or birdwatching in the canopies of Manuel Antonio National Park, there is something for every nature enthusiast in Costa Rica.

The country’s dedication to eco-tourism and sustainability has been recognized globally, making it a leader in responsible travel. Costa Rica is well on its way to becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral nation, setting an example for other countries to follow in the fight against climate change.

So, if you’re craving an immersive experience in nature’s wonderland, grab your hiking boots and head to Costa Rica. Explore the diverse ecological zones, discover rare wildlife, and embark on unforgettable adventures in the country’s protected areas. Costa Rica awaits, ready to take you on a journey of breathtaking natural beauty.

Adventure Capital: Thrilling Outdoor Activities

Costa Rica is an adventure lover’s paradise with a wide range of thrilling outdoor activities. Whether you’re seeking the rush of catching waves or the exhilaration of zip-lining through rainforests, Costa Rica offers an abundance of adrenaline-pumping experiences for all adventure enthusiasts.

Surfing in Costa Rica is a world-class experience, attracting surfers from around the globe. The country’s pristine beaches offer diverse surf spots for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced riders. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-timer, you’ll find the perfect wave to challenge and delight you.

Zip-lining through the lush rainforests of Costa Rica is an adventure like no other. Soar through the treetops, gliding from one platform to another, and immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the jungle. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you zip along the cables, getting an incredible bird’s-eye view of the tropical paradise below.

“Surfing and zip-lining in Costa Rica are two of the most exhilarating and unforgettable experiences I’ve ever had. The rush of catching those perfect waves and the thrill of zip-lining through the rainforest canopy are truly unmatched. If you’re an adventure junkie like me, Costa Rica is the place to be!”

But the adventure doesn’t stop there. Costa Rica offers a myriad of other exciting activities to get your heart racing. Embark on a white water rafting expedition down the thrilling rapids of the Pacuare River. Explore the underwater world with a scuba diving or snorkeling excursion, discovering vibrant coral reefs and marine life. Conquer the challenging hiking trails of the cloud forests or go on an ATV adventure to explore hidden gems off the beaten path.

No matter what adventure activity you choose, Costa Rica guarantees a thrilling and unforgettable experience. Get ready to push your limits, embrace the adrenaline, and create lifelong memories in this adventure capital of the world.

Adventure Activities in Costa Rica

Activity Description
Surfing Ride world-class waves at renowned surf spots across Costa Rica’s beautiful coastline.
Zip-lining Soar through the rainforest canopy on thrilling zip-line courses, enjoying breathtaking views.
White Water Rafting Navigate the exciting rapids of rivers like the Pacuare for an adrenaline-pumping rafting adventure.
Scuba Diving Explore the underwater wonders of Costa Rica’s vibrant coral reefs and marine ecosystems.
Hiking Embark on challenging hikes through the cloud forests and national parks, discovering unique flora and fauna along the way.
ATV Adventures Ride off-road on thrilling ATV trails, exploring hidden natural treasures in Costa Rica’s beautiful landscapes.


Costa Rica is truly a captivating destination that offers a multitude of reasons to visit. With its breathtaking landscapes, abundant biodiversity, and warm and welcoming people, it is a tropical paradise like no other. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply looking for a laidback getaway, Costa Rica has something for everyone.

From the moment you set foot in this remarkable country, you will be surrounded by awe-inspiring natural beauty. Explore lush rainforests, hike towering volcanoes, or relax on pristine beaches. Costa Rica is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering thrilling activities such as surfing, zip-lining, and wildlife spotting.

But Costa Rica isn’t just about adventure and natural wonders. It is a country that values sustainability and is committed to preserving its ecological treasures. From eco-friendly accommodations to protected wildlife refuges, Costa Rica’s dedication to the environment is truly commendable.

So, whether you want to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature, indulge in delicious local cuisine, or simply unwind in a laidback paradise, Costa Rica has it all. Plan your trip to this tropical gem, and get ready for an unforgettable journey filled with incredible experiences and lifelong memories.


Is Costa Rica really the happiest country in the world?

According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica held the top position as the happiest country in the world in 2012. While it may have slipped from the top spot, Costa Rica remains a country filled with smiles and positivity.

How biodiverse is Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is known as the most biodiverse country in the world, with an astonishing 500,000 species of wildlife. Many of these species are considered rare or endangered.

What makes Costa Rica a paradise for birdwatchers?

Costa Rica is home to 184 different types of birds, making it a must-visit destination for birdwatchers. Manuel Antonio National Park is particularly famous for its diverse bird population.

What is Gallo Pinto?

Gallo pinto is a delicious traditional Costa Rican dish that is typically served for breakfast. It consists of rice and black beans cooked together and is often accompanied by other ingredients like eggs and fried plantains.

How many volcanic formations does Costa Rica have?

Costa Rica boasts over 200 volcanic formations, with around 100 showing signs of activity. One of the most famous volcanoes in Costa Rica is the Arenal Volcano.

What is the average life expectancy in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica boasts an average life expectancy of 80 years, which is considered high compared to global standards. The country’s laidback lifestyle is often credited as one of the secrets to longevity.

Where can I see millions of nesting turtles in Costa Rica?

The Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica is home to millions of nesting turtles. Visitors who travel to Costa Rica between July and September can witness the incredible sight of sea turtles laying eggs on the beaches of Tortuguero National Park.

How many national parks and protected areas are there in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has 12 ecological zones and over 100 national parks, reserves, refuges, and protected lands. The country is dedicated to preserving its eco-diversity and is committed to becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral nation.

What kind of outdoor activities can I do in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is an adventure lover’s paradise, offering a wide range of thrilling outdoor activities. From world-class surfing waves to exhilarating zip-lining through rainforests, there’s no shortage of adrenaline-pumping experiences.

Why should I visit Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a captivating country that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, friendly people, and a rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re a nature lover, adventure enthusiast, or simply seeking a laidback getaway, Costa Rica has something for everyone.

Related Posts