Costa Rica’s Amazing Diversity
Costa Rica is not an island in the Caribbean. It is located in the center of the Central American isthmus. It is a very small country with less than 20,000 square miles, bordered on the north by Nicaragua and the south by Panama. On the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the east by the Caribbean Sea – Atlantic Ocean. This is a complex area with perhaps more DIVERSITY than any other place it’s size on earth. Costa Rica is divided into several distinct regions, each of them feels and looks very different from the other.
In the above photo you can see the major mountain ranges which run (down the middle) from the north to the south of the country . Here are located seven different volcanoes. Only one of these volcanoes is active and it is the Poas Volcano located in the central valley of Costa Rica
Costa Rica has attracted an international community of conservationists, biologist, environmentalists, and over one million tourist per year. Tourist come to enjoy a multitude of outdoor adventure activities from birdwatching to zip lining-from surfing to snorkeling and scuba diving. They come to explore the rainforests in the many national parks and wildlife preserves.
Cost Rica has seven volcanoes. The only one which is active is the Poas Volcano located in the central valley-sixty eight miles northwest of San Jose, the capital city. This volcano has a crater one mile wide with active geysers which spew up hot steam and sulfur gases on a daily basis. The Arenal Volcano is the most visited and is located in the north central area of the country. It ceased to be active in November 2011. However tourist still flock to this area hoping that it will without warning start up again and spew it hot lava hundreds of feet into the atmosphere.
Most of the population of Costa Rica live in the Central Valley at elevations between 456 meters and 1,300 meters. Temperatures here are very mild at between 70 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. Costa Rica has an abundance of rainfall between the months of May and November. So this tropical rainy climate allows for rich soil which grows coffee, bananas, sugar cane, rice, black beans, and hundreds of tropical fruits and vegetables. Pineapple and bananas are exported to the USA and also to Europe.
The highest peak in Costa Rica is Chirripo mountain. (located in south central Costa Rica.) It is around 12,000 feet above sea level with cold and brittle weather. Tourist from all over world come here to hike Chirripo.
The coast lines of Costa Rica are a very different story with hot temperatures with abundant bright sunshine. The NW Pacific Coast is the most visited with dozens of hotels with a price range and budget for any tourist. This coastal area in the north western side of Costa Rica is arid with small trees and less rainfall. In contrast, the Caribbean coast is very rainy all year, thus attracting fewer tourist. It is more tropical and lush with the natural beauty of palm trees and coconut trees lining the pristine white sandy beaches.
To make one understand more easily, the temperature of the area you are located in Costa Rica is determined by the altitude.
Costa Rica has a dry season mid December until mid April..although on the Caribbean coast this does not apply because here it rains there all year round. Also the south western Osa Peninsula gets a great deal of rain all year round. Rainy season in Costa Rica is considered May through November with less rain on the northwest Pacific Coastline.
For such a small country Costa Rica is filled with amazing DIVERSITY and climates. This is why North Americans and Europeans find retiring here very appealing.
San Jose is the capital city located in the central valley. It is not an attractive city and we do not see the beautiful Spanish Colonial Architecture like we see in Granada, Nicaragua. Traffic jams are horrible in San Jose. There are “more vehicles in Costa Rica’s central valley than there are roads”.
Daylight hours are the same in Costa Rica all year round. Sunrise -around 5:30 am and Sunset around 5:30 pm. Twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness.
If you ask someone who has retired to Costa Rica-“What is your favorite thing about living here?” The say “It is the beautiful weather along with it’s Amazing Diversity.”
Costa Rica has it all. Plenty of water. Veins of water come right out of the side of the mountains forming streams and rivers which run into the seas. The soil is exceptionally rich due to the volcanic ash fallen to the earth through the centuries.
Geographically Costa Rica is mostly mountainous. From the air one can look down and see mountains after mountains and all is GREEN and lush. This is why it takes so long to drive from the central valley to the coast. You have to wind up and around the mountainous terrain with two lane often narrow roads.
If you are thinking of a vacation to Costa Rica contact Ann, “The Costa Rica Expert” She can plan your vacation (along with your input) and make the arrangements for you. This can save you a lot of time surfing the internet and getting confused. She has twelve years experience in VACATION PLANNING TO COSTA RICA. You can read all about this on her website www.costaricalearn.com