Why Costa Rica?
Costa Rica, which means Rich Coast is Central America's jewel. It's an oasis of calm among its turbulent neighbours and an ecotourism heaven, making it one of the best places to experience the tropics. Costa Rica is also mostly coastline, which means great surfing, beaches galore and a climate built for laziness. It has both a Caribbean and a Pacific coast.
Costa Rica's enlightened approach to conservation has ensured that lush jungles are home to four types of playful monkeys, sloths, iguanas, alligators, crocodiles, frogs and a mind-boggling assortment of exotic birds, insects and dazzling butterflies. Endangered sea turtles nest on both coasts.
The country's biodiversity attracts nature lovers from all over the world; its tropical forests contain 1500 tree species. National parks cover almost 12% of the country, and forest reserves and indigenous reservations boost the protected land area to 27%.
Costa Rica's biggest attractions are not the mountains or the parks or even the coastal resorts, but its people. Costa Rica has formed cultural pride through non-violence and four centuries of peace. The country maintains a steady upward trend towards educational, economical and political stability. It has a literacy rate which exceeds that of United States.
Thrill seekers can fly through forests on zip lines, peer into boiling volcanoes, surf oversized waves and dive with dolphins and whales - all in the course of a normal day. Then again, if you have some serious chilling to do, you can always lounge in a hammock and enjoy the pure life, or pura vida - a national expression that sums up the desire to live the best, most hassle-free existence.