Costa Rica is one of the smallest countries in Latin America with approximately 51,000 square kilometers - about Costa Rica you can say “small but fine”.
On the west coast you can find the Pacific Ocean and on the east coast the Caribbean Sea. Therefore, Costa Rica has a coastline of over 1,300 kilometers packed with dream beaches. The interior is shaped with beautiful landscapes with volcanoes, mountains, rain and cloud forests. To the north, Costa Rica borders with Nicaragua and to the south with Panama.
Costa Rica is home to 4.5 million people, with upwards of 350,000 people living in the capital city of San José. The majority of Costa Ricans live in cities, especially in the highlands. Compared to other Central American countries, Costa Rica has a low percentage of indigenous people. Inhabitants are more shaped like the Spanish immigrants from decades ago. Politically, Costa Rica is the most stable country in Central America and has abolished the military over 60 years ago. The official language is Spanish.
The Costa Rican climate is commonly humid and warm year round, although temperatures in the highlands are typically colder and cloudier. Rainy season is from May to November and dry season from December to April. Because of Costa Rica's location, the weather can be described as tropical, with high humidity and rainfall throughout the year.
Tourism is one of the main sources of income for Costa Rica’s economy. With over 2 million tourists exploring Costa Rica each year, the country stands as the most visited nation in Central America. Breath-taking wilderness, serene beaches or deep rain forests and wild animals, Costa Rica has everything that you would require form a dream vacation!
Here are a few Costa Rican highlights you should not miss:
• Go surfing at the Pacific Beach in Tamarindo or Sámara
• National Park Rincón de la Vieja - around the extinct volcano Santa Maria you can find a geothermally active area, waterfalls and a diverse wildlife
• Tortuguero National Park - the most important national park is known particularly for its sea turtles. But also caimans, otters, monkeys and jaguars live here.
• Puerto Viejo - The small town at the Caribbean coast is known for its laid-back lifestyle
• Zip-line and suspension bridges at the Sky Trek Monteverde - breathtaking views, splashing waterfalls and more - a great trekking trip!
• The capital city San José – Costa Rica's cultural hub is represented especially by the Plaza del la Cultura
Incredibly, 27% of the already small, densely populated land remains protected territory by over 20 national parks and/or private reserves. In the 1970s, Costa Rica was one of the first to offer eco-tourism programs to connect tourism with a sustainable environmental protection.
Costa Rica's protected land is home and host to a wide variety of exotic plants and wild animals. Among others, you can spot a variety of birds, snakes, lizards and butterflies. Furthermore, rare mammals, such as sloths, jaguars, pumas or spectacled bears that you can normally only see in the zoo or on TV can be seen here.
The national parks at the coasts usually dedicate themselves to the protection of giant sea turtles that come to the beaches every year to lay their eggs.
Make sure to ask Costa Ricans, who typically know quite a bit, about their national treasures.
Finally, Costa Rica is a perfect place to connect your Spanish course with outdoor activities. The local typically speak a slow and clear Spanish, without a strong accent or extensive slang. Costa Ricans are very friendly, energetic people and always have a smile on their face!