5 Fun Facts About Costa Rica

From its many tropical jungles to its idyllic beaches and world famous surf spots, Costa Rica is a natural wonder of the world and a great place to visit if you want to experience all the incredible sights, sounds, and adventures that nature has to offer. Costa Rica is home to one of the most well protected rainforest ecosystems left in Central America, and its jungles are filled with an incredible variety of wildlife including four species of monkey, nine hundred kinds of birds and, of course, sloths! It also abolished its military back in 1949, making it one of only a few countries without an army. The country's heroic efforts to preserve its natural spaces have made it a world leader in conservation and sustainability practices. As we look to create a greener future, there's a lot we can learn from Costa Rica's pursuit of the Pura Vida life. To help get you started, here are five of our favorite fun facts from the land of pure living!

  • Visual aid of how to complete 1. Costa Rica Borders Both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans

    Costa Rica lies between Nicaragua and Panama on the southern tip of the Central American peninsula that forms a land bridge between the continents of North and South America. This means that Costa Rica is an isthmus with oceans bordering both sides of the country. Its coastlines form a border with the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. That means that if you visit Costa Rica, you could watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean then travel west in time to watch it set over the Pacific Ocean later that evening!

  • Visual aid of how to complete 2. Costa Rica Is On Track to be the First Carbon-Neutral Country

    Costa Rica leads the world in sustainable energy development, producing 98% of its electricity using renewable, carbon neutral methods like wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal power. This puts Costa Rica on a path to become the first country to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. That's good news for Costa Rica, and great news for the planet!

  • Visual aid of how to complete 3. Costa Rica is Home to 5% of the World's Plants and Animals

    Costa Rica is a small country, taking up less than 0.3% of the world's total land mass, yet its abundant rainforests are densely packed with over 500,000 different species of plants and animals! It's estimated that, despite it's relatively small size, Costa Rica contains about 5% of the Earth's total biomass (meaning 5% of all plant and animal life on Earth). That makes Costa Rica one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet!

  • Visual aid of how to complete 4. Nature Preserves Cover 25% of the Country

    Prior to 1940 healthy, biodiverse forests covered about 75% of Costa Rica. By 1987, however, more than half of Costa Rica's rainforests had been lost to deforestation by logging and agriculture. Fortunately, the Costa Rican government decided to act to preserve and restore the country's remaining rainforests. They created laws banning deforestation without government approval, and created ‘payments for ecological services’ where Costa Ricans receive financial support in return for helping restore and preserve forests. Thanks to these ambitious policies, Costa Rica became the first tropical country to entirely reverse deforestation  — today, around 60% of the country has returned to forest cover and 25% of the country's total land mass has been converted into protected nature preserves. This has helped to turn Costa Rica into one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central America, and ecotourism into a major money-maker for the country's economy.

  • Visual aid of how to complete 5. The Happiest Place on Earth?

    Ten years ago, Costa Rica was ranked the #1 happiest country on Earth by researchers at the Global Happiness Index. While it's ranking has fallen some since then, it still ranks among the top 20 happiest places to live today. Research suggests this is due to a combination of social factors including supportive social communities, healthy life expectancy, high levels of generosity and a democratic government that prioritizes people's welfare. Costa Rican's also embrace a cultural philosophy known as Pura Vida, or "pure life," that emphasizes an appreciation for nature, gratitude for friends and family, and enjoyment of life's simple pleasures.

  • If you enjoyed these fun facts about Costa Rica and want to learn about more exciting places and interesting cultures all over the world, then you might like our line of Atlas crates filled with fun games and interesting educational activities designed to help you travel the globe from the comfort of your living room.

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