Geography & People
Costa Rica, a country in Latin America which is dwarfed by its neighbors in terms of land area, but in terms of economy and population satisfaction, dwarfs its neighbors. It is a very progressive country which boasts many happy and very satisfied citizens. Furthermore, Costa Rica is the most planet friendly country in the world. Justifiably so, a very popular tourist destination attributed to many factors, which are unique to this country.
For one, what makes Costa Rica prominently tourist friendly, is the serenity of the country and the contentment of the Costa Ricans. Both of these factors play a major role in attracting visitors all through the year. Secondly, the country is surrounded by two popular bodies of water: the Pacific Ocean to the west and south; and the Caribbean Sea to the east. The coasts of Costa Rica which rival the beauty and distinctiveness of even Hawaiian beaches, never fail to draw in beach goers and honeymooners from Europe, Asia, and North America. The country truly lives by its Spanish name Costa Rica, which in English, means “Rich Coast”.
Besides the cheery populace and the vast, exclusive beaches, Costa Rica also prides its weather. Being geographically situated close to the equator, the country has two seasons: dry and rainy. However, because of the mountainous terrain of the country, and the fact that its center of population is scattered throughout the region, the country has what they call ‘micro seasons.’ What is a micro season? The question is best explained with an example: if you go down the beach, say, in the dry season, you will have a scorching hot day. But if you travel up the northern parts towards the mountains, you’ll feel the weather change drastically from hot, to cool, to cold.
Nature alone did not give Costa Rica its legendary fame, for there are many countries in the world where the nature is also unique. What makes Costa Rica; unequaled as a tourist destination in Central America is its people. That’s right; the Costa Ricans exude beauty and grace unparalleled in most of the world. So, who make up the people of Costa Rica? Well, Costa Ricans call themselves ‘Ticos’ and ‘Ticas;’ a native word which literally translates to English as male and female, respectively. The vast majority (98% of the 4,640,000 citizens of Costa Rica) of the ticos and ticas of Costa Rica are mestizos or whites. They are the result of the mixture of Spanish and native bloods which started way back in the days of Columbus’ explorations. There are also blacks in this country, as in the other Central American countries. But here, they are fewer in number and they reside in a few select places. The blacks are descendants of the slaves brought in from Africa who, now, are savoring a freedom dispossessed from their ancestors. Some of the black population are also immigrants from neighboring Jamaica drawn in to the place with a promise of better employment and better lifestyle. And they were not wrong to have done so.
Another group of people in Costa Rica are the Indians. They are the actual or ‘true’ natives of the country. But the Spanish occupation which extended for over several centuries almost drove them to complete annihilation. These Costa Rican Indians of the 21st century have blended well with the population where they live as average, respected, and indiscriminate citizens. The Ticos and Ticas of Costa Rica insist up to this day that their society is a classless society. Indeed, it does seem like that. But in a more technical perspective, almost 90% of the population belong to the middle class, which is very impressive for a developing country.
It is not to say that extreme poverty is non-existent because they do exist, but only in very small and manageable numbers, and if there are extremely poor, there is also the extremely rich and affluent. They comprise the elite minority of Costa Rica.
Although probably going by the standards of the developed world, most Costa Ricans may not be that well-to-do, but they are considered comparatively far developed than their neighbors. Indeed, beyond the borders of Costa Rica live millions of impoverished and, in some cases, starved Central Americans. Someone who sees these facts sees a very remarkable and significant difference between the social conditions of the people of Costa Rica and that of the others. You would seldom spot a beggar prowling the streets of any city, and even the poorest families of the country never fail to wear decent clothing. The demarcation line between classes is made vague by everyone, even by the elite. In fact, the President of the country is dubbed by his first name when he walks into a crowd or group.
This is perhaps why the Costa Ricans are such a bunch of happy people, they unfailingly amplify a feeling of social justice and satisfaction wherever one goes and that is why Costa Ricans are very hospitable and love to have fun, dance, and celebrate life. Finally, that is why you must go there.