192-Part Guide To The World: Costa Rica


Official Name: Republic of Costa Rica

Official Name: Republic of Costa Rica

Language:Spanish is the official language. Creole English and Indian dialects, such as Bribri, which is understood by about 10,000 people, are also spoken.

Population: Estimated at 3,500,000: 96 per cent are of Spanish descent, 2 per cent of African descent, 1 per cent are indigenous Indians and 1 per cent are Chinese.

Size: 19,729 square miles. The country is split in two by a series of volcanic mountain chains which run from the Nicaraguan to the Panamanian border. The country also benefits from both a Caribbean and a Pacific coast.

National Dish: Costa Rican cuisine is tasty rather than spicy-hot and is centered around beef, chicken and fish dishes, with rice, corn or beans and fresh fruit as supplements. Common dishes include casado (rice, beans, stewed beef, fried plantain, salad and cabbage), olla de came (soup of beef, plantain, com, yuca, nampi and chayote), sopa negra (black beans with a poached egg) and picadillo (meat and vegetable stew).

Best Monument: Costa Rica protects much of its land with national parks, forest reserves and Indian reservations. Quetzals, indigo-capped hummingbirds, macaws and toucans, together with another 850 recorded bird species, attract nature lovers from all over the world. There are also over 1,400 tree species, four types of monkey, sloths, armadillos, jaguars, tapirs and a number of dazzling butterflies.

Most Famous Citizen: Oscar Arias Sanchez, a Costa Rican politician and former president, was the leading promoter of the Central American Peace Plan and was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1987.

Best Moment In History: The introduction of coffee in 1808 was an important development for Costa Rica. It led to independence, wealth, class structure and a much more outward-looking perspective. And it was the coffee-growers themselves who became the future presidents of the country

Worst Moment In History: Much of the town of Cartago was destroyed in 1723 by the eruption of Mt Irazu, but its hard-working survivors rebuilt the town.

Essential Accessory: American dollars and scorpion repellent. Dollars are much more popular than the Costa Rican currency of colones, especially in the tourist areas. And on no account forget to check your shoes and bed sheets in case of scorpions. They can certainly give you a bit of a fright while you are in the land of nod.

What Not To Do: Do not pet the wild dogs that roam around the towns and cities - they have been known to bite unsuspecting tourists. Should you fall foul of man's best friend's teeth, help is at hand from the local clinic. For a reasonable fee they will clean you up, fill you with pills and vaccinate you with a smile. Also, watch out for strong currents while swimming or surfing.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

    £15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence