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COSTA RICA

OUR BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY IN FEW WORDS

PURA VIDA

 

One of the most familiar terms in Costa Rica is “Pura Vida”. But where does this expression come from and why is it used so much ?

There are not only words, this is a culture and a way of life that the Costa Ricans (Ticos) have adapted. Pura Vida” means “Pure Life” in English, this is the expression of eternal optimism that is taken from a movie named “Pura Vida” directed by Gilberto Martinez Solares. It has been used nationally since 1970.

We could translate this expression in several ways to understand it better: “enjoy life”, “everything is fine”, “hello”, “goodbye”, “how are you? ». This expression may be difficult to understand for a foreigner who has not yet set foot in Costa Rica, but it makes sense when you have been there once.

“Pura Vida” lets the person who says it appear that, whatever his current situation, he is happy with what he has in his life in every sense of the word, material or immaterial. That is why a foreigner from Europe or North America understands this expression when visiting Costa Rica because this country is a small paradise on earth whose people have adapted a serene lifestyle that cannot be found anywhere else.

 

Some examples with “Pura Vida” in Spanish :

 

Hola Javier, Pura Vida ? Todo bien, Gracias a dios.

On the other hand :

Hola, como estas ? Pura Vida y tu ?

Conoces a Ana ? Si, ella es muy Pura Vida.

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HISTORY

 

To know a little more about this small Central American country, here is some information about the history of Costa Rica, both political and economic.

Costa Rica was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502. It was colonized by the Spanish from the XVI century to the XIX century and obtained its independence on September 15, 1821.

Since the 1st of December 1948, Costa Rica is a neutral country but also the first nation in the world to have constitutionally abolished its army. The aim is to end military spending in order to invest and prioritise education, health and environmental protection, while improving living standards.

In economic terms, one of the factors that has enabled Costa Rica to develop economically is a natural wealth that is well known throughout the world, coffee.

 

How is coffee important on Costa Rican lands?

 

Coffee, which is not native to the country and called “El Grano de Oro” in Spanish, quickly became the miracle culture of the country because it saved the country from underdevelopment. Today, coffee is the country’s second economic resource after tourism, which is only increasing. It achieves high productivity throughout Costa Rica.

It is cultivated in large quantities in the central part of Costa Rica next to volcanic lands. This area has a fairly constant spring climate, which favours production and gives the coffee an atypical smell and taste depending on the area where it is grown.

So it’s one of the best coffees in the world. Now it’s your turn to come and discover it and give your opinion !

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GEOGRAPHY

 

Costa Rica may be a small country, its natural wealth and biodiversity are incredibly great.

The countries bordering Costa Rica are Nicaragua in the north and Panama in the south. Costa Rica is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Caribbean Sea on the east.

On the Pacific side, there are gulfs like the Gulf of Nicoya, peninsulas, coves but also the most beautiful beaches of Costa Rica. There are white or black sandy beaches, some of them are suitable for snorkeling (ex : Playa del Coco, Manuel Antonio) and others for surfing lovers (ex : Playa Guiones, Santa Teresa, Playa Hermosa Jaco). Concerning the weather, the Guanacaste region, located in the west, is the driest area in Costa Rica.

On the Caribbean Sea side, there are beaches and atypical places. Tortuguero is known for the thousands of turtles that come to lay eggs on the beach every year. On this coast, we can see that some places like Puerto Viejo have influences coming from Jamaica due to the black population and also to their patois which is a mixture of jamaican patois and spanish.

Costa Rica has beautiful natural resources and is not a flat land since it consists of a chain of volcanoes including 5 active volcanoes: the Arenal, the Turialba, the Rincon de la Vieja, the Poas and the Irazú. It is also made up of mountain ranges including the mountain ranges of Guanacaste and Tilaran, the central mountain range and the Talamanca mountain range located in the south of the country. The Central Valley has a tropical atmosphere that favours the production of coffee, which is very present in this central part. Moreover, the volcanoes surrounding the coffee plantations give the coffee a unique taste and smell.

 

Regarding the weather, there are two seasons in the country :

  • The wet season called “invierno” (winter) from May to November is the greenest because it is the rainy season.
  • The dry season called “verano” (summer) from December to April.

The temperature varies easily from one region to another for such a small country but this is due to the altitude which is more or less high.

 

 

Key figures

  • Number of inhabitants : More than 4 800 million inhabitants
  • Surface area : 51 100 km² (12 times smaller than France)
  • Density : 97 inhabitants/km²
  • GDP per inhabitants (2016) : $ 11,824
  • Costa Rica joined the United Nations on 2 November 1945
  • 161 National Parks, refuges and protected natural areas represent 26% of Costa Rican territory
  • Coffee : World coffee production: 100 million bags

Green Arabica coffee from Costa Rica : 10th in the world with 150,000 tons per year, which bring the country 300 million USD

  • Costa Rica lived 113 days only with renewable energies

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