The Spaniards were right when they called the land they discovered in Central America “Rich Coast”. This country was supposed to seem like a real paradise to Europeans. Now Costa Rica attracts tourists with archaeological sites, tropical forests, Indian settlements, picturesque valleys, volcanoes, and excellent beaches.
Geography of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is located in Central America. Costa Rica borders Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the southeast. In the west, the country is washed by the Pacific Ocean, and in the east – by the Caribbean Sea. Total area – 51,100 sq. km., and the total length of the state border is 639 km.
Costa Rica includes several Cocos Islands. The largest island in this country is Calero, with an area of 156.1 sq. km.
On the territory of mainland Costa Rica, mountain ranges stretch from north to south. The highest local peak is Mount Cerro Chirripó, whose height reaches 3,819 meters. The country has several volcanoes, some of which are still active.
About 90 kilometers from the city of San Jose is the largest lake in Costa Rica – Arenal, with an area of 80 square meters. km.
Capital of Costa Rica
According to simplyyellowpages.com, San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica. About 400 thousand people now live in this city. San José was founded in 1738.
Costa Rica has one official language – Spanish. Some local Indian tribes still speak their native languages.
About 70.5% of the population are Catholics, and about 13% identify themselves as Protestants.
State structure of Costa Rica
According to diseaseslearning.com, Costa Rica is a presidential republic. Its head is the President, who also acts as head of government at the same time.
The unicameral local parliament is called the National Assembly and consists of 57 deputies. The president and members of parliament are elected for 4 years.
The main political parties are National Liberation Party, Citizen’s Action Party and Libertarian Movement Party, Social Christian Unity Party.
Administratively, the territory of Costa Rica is divided into 7 provinces (San Jose, Alajuela, Puntarenas, Cartago, Limon, Guanacaste and Heredia), which in turn are divided into 90 cantons.
Climate and weather
Costa Rica is a small country, but it has several different climatic zones. In general, the local climate can be considered tropical and subtropical. For example, in the province of Guanacaste, located near the Pacific Ocean, the climate is dry, and in the province of Limon, near the Caribbean Sea, the climate is humid (and this despite the fact that the distance between them is only about 210 kilometers).
The average annual air temperature is +21-27C. The coldest months are November, December and January, while the hottest months are March, April and May.
The rainy season lasts from May to November. Most precipitation falls in September and October. Dry season is from December to April.
Seas and oceans of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. The total length of the coastline is 1,290 km. The average annual sea temperature near the coast is + 25-29C.
Rivers and lakes
Local rivers are small, but they are of great interest to lovers of outdoor activities on the water. During the rainy season, rivers often overflow their banks. About 90 kilometers from San Jose is the largest Costa Rican lake – Arenal, whose area reaches 80 square meters. km.
Culture Costa Rica
The culture of Costa Rica is permeated with holidays and festivals. Local holidays are called “turnos” and they are held all over the country. Particularly grandiose “turnos” are held in Guanacaste and Nicoya, where rodeos, fireworks and “bombetas” are held.
Cities and small towns also celebrate their saints’ days with street processions, rodeos, dances and parades.
Costa Rica is a Catholic country, so its holidays (“feriados”) are mostly religious in nature. During the Easter week (Semana Santa), the country stops working for a whole seven days. This is a great opportunity to see colorful religious street processions.
Costa Rica’s staple foods are black beans and rice, often served with a good portion of vegetables or fruit. Cheese and other dairy products are rarely used.
Typical local dishes are “casado” (it is a mixture of rice, meat or fish beans, fried bananas, carrots, and tomatoes) and “arroz” (fried rice with chicken or shrimp).
Tourists are also recommended to try:
- “Olla de carne” – stew with potatoes, carrots, chayote, banana;
- “Ceviche” – fish marinated in lemon juice with cilantro and onions;
- “Tortilla” – thin corn tortillas;
- Tortilla de queso “- a large corn tortilla with cheese;
- “Arreglados” – meat in dough;
- “Arroz con polo” – rice with chicken and vegetables;
- “Picadillo” – fried vegetables (served as a side dish);
- “Tamales is pork or chicken in a corn tortilla wrapped in banana leaves;
- “Melcochas” – sugar candies;
- “Milanes” and “tapitas” – small chocolate sweets;
- “Dulce de leche” is a thick syrup made from sugar and milk.
Traditional soft drinks are coffee, “Refrescos” made from fruit, water and ice, and “horchata” made from rice and crust.
Traditional alcoholic drinks are beer and guaro. The local wine is not very good.
It should be noted that the cuisine of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is significantly different from the culinary traditions of the rest of the country.
Sights of Costa Rica
There are not very many historical monuments in Costa Rica, but there are a lot of natural attractions there. Some of the best local attractions, in our opinion, include the following:
- Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
- Arenal Volcano National Park and the city of La Fortuna
- Tamarindo, Playa Langosta & Playa Grande
- Manuel Antonio National Park
- Tortuguero National Park
- Corcovado National Park
- Santa Teresa & Mal Pais beach
- Puerto Viejo and Cahuita National Park
- Nosara & Playa Guiones
Cities and resorts
The largest cities are Alajuela, Cartago, Limon, Ciudad Quesada, Philadelphia, Tamarindo and the capital is San Jose.
On the coast of Costa Rica (the country, we recall, is washed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea), there are about 300 beaches. The sand on the beaches is fine, white, black or brown.
Top 5 best beaches in Costa Rica:
- Corcovado on the Osa Peninsula
- Manuel Antonio
- Playa Dominical
- Nicoya peninsula
As souvenirs, they buy a small reproduction of a wooden cart drawn by oxen (it is a symbol of Costa Rica), Boruk Indian masks (from $25 to $150), wood products (for example, caskets), ceramics, Indian jewelry, hammocks (from $15 to $100), sauces, Costa Rican coffee.
Most shops are open on Saturdays.
If Ukrainians come to Costa Rica for up to 30 days, then you do not need to apply for a visa.
Currency of Costa Rica
The Costa Rican colón is the official currency in Costa Rica. Its international designation is CRC. One colon = 100 centimos. Credit cards are widely accepted. Most hotels, restaurants and car rental companies accept all major credit cards.
Foreign and local currency must be entered in the declaration (the amount is not limited). You cannot import plants and their seeds, fruits, vegetables, meat products, etc. It is allowed to import up to 5 liters of alcoholic beverages per person and up to 50 grams of tobacco.
Items of antiquity and art cannot be exported. It is also forbidden to take out birds and animals.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
The interests of Costa Rica in Ukraine are represented by the Embassy of Costa Rica in Russia:
Postal code: 121615, Moscow, Rublevskoe shosse, 26/1/23
T: (495) 415-40-14
El. email: [email protected]
The interests of Ukraine in Costa Rica are represented by the Embassy of Ukraine in Mexico:
Paseo de la Reforma, 730
Colonia Lomas de Chapultepec, Delegación Miguel Hidalgo, CP 11000, México T:
(8 10 52) 555-282-47 89
mail: [email protected]
911 Emergency Phones
– All Emergencies
Behind Kyiv for 8 hours. Those. if, for example, in Kyiv it is 13:00, then in San Jose it is only 05:00 in the morning.
Tipping in most hotels and restaurants at a rate of 10% is included in the bill. A porter at an airport or a bellboy at a hotel is given $1 for a bag of tea. Maid service at the hotel is priced at $2 per night (useful to leave on the first day of your stay to ensure excellent service).
It is customary for taxi drivers to tip $1-5 on a long trip, depending on the length of the journey.
Doctors recommend getting vaccinated against typhoid, malaria, rabies and hepatitis A before traveling to Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is considered a fairly safe country for tourists. In any case, it is safer for foreigners than in some metropolitan areas. Follow simple safety rules, and then you will remember your vacation in Costa Rica forever.
Leave documents and valuables in your hotel safe. Carry a copy of your passport with you. Change currency in banks. Don’t carry more money with you than you need. Beware of pickpockets and do not walk the streets at night.