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An Amazing Diversity: Costa Rica
Costa Rica is not a Caribbean Island but the center of the Central American Isthmus. Traveling around in Costa Rica you would think that you are in a large country and you think it might take months to explore it all. But it reality it’s land mass is only 20,000 square miles and one of the smallest countries in Latin America. Costa Rica is bordered to the east by the Caribbean Sea and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. To the north by Nicaragua and to the south by Panama. Costa Rica is more diverse than any place it’s size on the face of the earth. It is divided into several distinct regions and each of these regions looks and feels as an entirely different place.
Costa Rica attracts an international community of visitors: Conservationist, biologist, birdwatchers, environmentalists, naturalists, and tourists who are ecologically minded.
Three mountain ranges transverse Costa Rica from the northwest to the southeast: the Guanacaste range, the Central, and then the Talamanca. And the highest peak is Chirripo at 12,500 feet in altitude.
Then there is the network of rivers which rise from the mountains and flow to the sea on both coasts. And provide a seemingly endless supply of fresh water and hydraulic power.
The soil in the Central Valley is very rich due to the volcanic ash falling over the centuries, and is ideal for the production of coffee, which is Costa Rica’s number one export.
Although Costa Rica has several extinct volcanoes several remain active such as the Poas, the Arenal, the Turrialba, and the Irazu. The most active is the Arenal which spurts a daily fireworks show from it’s might summit.
Most of the people of Costa Rica live in the Central Valley in the two largest cities of San Jose, the capital, and Alajuela where the international airport is located. The elevation here ranges from 1500 feet to 4,500 feet which makes the climate very nice and relatively pleasant and cool.
Near the coastlines the temperatures are much warmer, averaging around eighty degrees. But there seems to always be an ocean breeze to help cool things off.
Costa Rica gets a lot of rainfall and that is why it has such gorgeous rain forest. The rain comes around mid May and lasts until the end of November although very often you will get sunny mornings with the rain coming around 2 pm. The dry season is December through April when most of the days are sunny and cooler. However there are different ecosystems in Costa Rica. The Caribbean coastlines gets a lot more rain all year round. And Guanacaste on the northwestern part of the country gets a lot less rainfall year round. That is way the large mega hotels for beach lovers are located on this NW Pacific coastlines of Guanacaste.
So the unique thing about Costa Rica’s climate is that you can be in a very cool place at a higher altitude with a fireplace and then a day later be at the beach in the warm sunshine where the temperature is around 80 degrees F.
Costa Rica’s government has been very wise in setting aside over twenty percent of it’s land in National Parks and Wildlife Reserves which to date are more than thirty. No other country in the world comes close to such a statistic. Other astounding statistics: Almost a million different species of flora and fauna, fifty thousand species of insects, eighty hundred and fifty species birds, two thousand species of orchids.
Of the the first naturalists to help protect Costa Rica’s rain forest was Swedish couple named Nils and Olaf Wessberg who came to Costa Rica in 1955 and settled on a farm near Montezuma on the Nicoya peninsula. The built a home of paln leaves, determined to live in harmony with nature. They watched all around them with dismay as the virgin rain forest was cut down, so they became activists and raised money to purchase the land ($30,000) 2,930 acres which today constitutes Cabo Blanco Strict Nature Reserve.
A student of Costa Rica forestry named Mario Boza was effective in movement to establish Santa Rosa National park which is located in the Northwestern province of Guanacaste. This was Costa Rica’s first National Park, created in 1969.
Rodrigo Carazo, president of Costa Rica from 1978-1982 said, “The National parks are splendid natural laboratories which we offer to the international scientific community and also to young children and to adults, young and old, to visit these parks and enjoy direst contact with nature in it’s pristine state.”
If you would like to see Costa Rica up close please go to the home page of costaricalearn.com and there you may order our full length 58 minute travel adventure video on Costa Rica’s natural wonders and vast biodiversity. Listen to the interviews of three couples who have made Costa Rica their new home and why they love it so much. It is filmed by Ken and Ann Creed. It is named “Costa Rica A Travel Adventure Spectacular Video“Ken is a professional videographer and has worked done travel adventure films which have been presented for National Geographic.
Planning a vacation to Costa Rica? Contact Ann “The Costa Rica Expert“. She will design that perfect vacation -get a away- to fit just your needs and budget. Contact her by going to her web page