Introducing Costa Rica
Costa Rica: The Rich Coast in the heart on Central America
When Christopher Columbus and his crew dropped anchor into the water off the coast of Costa Rica in 1502, no one knew what to expect, but they found a jungle paradise inhabited by the descendants of a Mesoamerican, as well as South American culture. During the 16th century the largest city in Central America was Guatemala City and Costa Rica was quite a distance from that hub, so the country was left to develop in relative isolation.
The country was able grow without much intervention from Spain, but it suffered from not sharing in the prosperity of the colonies around them. For years Costa Rica was known as the most miserable, and poorest Spanish settlement in Central America. Costa Rica gained independence from Spain in 1821, and became a state in the Republic of Central America. Costa Rica has enjoyed more political stability and peace over the years, because it was left alone by Spain.
Costa Rica Today
Costa Rica sits 10 degrees north of the equator and 84 degrees west of the Prime Meridian. The Caribbean Sea is on the eastern side of the country, and the North Pacific Ocean is on the western side. Nicaragua is the northern neighbor, and Panama is the southern neighbor. The total area of the country is 17,700 square miles, and the highest point is Cerro Chimpo, which is the fifth highest mountain in Central American. Over twenty-five percent of the Costa Rica’s land area is protected national areas and parks. Most vacationers make it a point to visit Corcovado National Park, which is the home of all four species of Costa Rican monkeys, and Tortuguero National Park, which is the nestling area for the endangered green turtle. Over 4.5 million people call Costa Rica home, and the national currency is the Colon.