Costa Rica is special. With a population of just over 4 million, a life expectancy of 78 years , literacy rates of 97% , a protected territory of over 27% , a democracy without military enduring what has allowed twice be considered the happiest country in the world . The Costa Rican polite in their dealings and always willing to help visitors with directions but do not know where it is or understand the language. Most of the population is concentrated in the Central Valley where most populous cities are , Heredia , Alajuela , Cartago and San José , the capital, where activity is concentrated government, business and culture. The rest of the country is to enjoy its forests , rivers , volcanoes and beaches !
No country on Earth gathers many different ecosystems in such a small space . With 51,100 square miles in extent, nearly the size of Switzerland , is divided by a series of volcanic mountain ranges that cross from Nicaragua to Panama , bathed by the Caribbean , the Pacific coast , as well as being a bridge between South America and North America , which has favored the existence of a huge diversity of flora and fauna. Costa Rica can be considered as a living laboratory to contain about 5 % of all known species worldwide.
Howler monkeys receiving the day from the top of the trees of the forest, blooming flower hummingbird sipping nectar from hundreds of flowers, a pack of coatis crossing the road to get to the slopes of the volcano , pelicans flying online patrolling the Pacific coast , sloth crossing a road without any hurry, are pictures that we enjoy in many corners of the Costa Rica naturally.
The capital of San Jose was founded in 1737 and after a series of disputes with other emerging colonial cities of the era was from 1823 It holds the tittle of capital. Agricultural merely those times in the middle of the last century was supplying constant migration that populated the city and was the shaping the modern city . Some travelers consider it a necessary evil before heading Costa Rica was the authentic and natural, but we can say that San Jose is the center of everything and a look at the daily life of the capital give us an idea of the face of the country . During the day the streets and markets are full of color and some traces of colonial and night can be as sophisticated as one wishes .
The Caribbean Coast
The cloud mountains of Coordillera of Talamanca and the volcanoes of the Cordillera Central form the backbone separating the Caribbean side of the country. Here the forest and the sea come together to shape a sandy shoreline dotted riverine wetlands , living coral reefs and small towns with populations of marked Jamaican roots , mixed with indigenous Cabecar Bribis and the region, Chinese who came to build the European rail and gradually they settled in the region attracted by its beauty. This mixture is also found in the kitchen , in the language , the music, the whole culture .
National parks are most visited Tortuguero where they get to spawn thousands of green turtles in the northern Caribbean and Cahuita National Park in the south with its coral reef and trails along the coast where the cry of howler monkeys breaks the monotony of the sound of the ocean waves. Puerto Viejo is the southernmost community on the coast and we find the most spectacular beaches . The atmosphere is very relaxed and bicycles are the preferred means of transport to discover these wonderful beaches. Local surfers know well the wave that runs parallel to the coast called Salsa Brava for experts only Cocles beach but no waves for all tastes . One of the most amazing rivers for rafting , the Pacuare River , is also located in this region that does not have a defined dry season maintains optimum flow for this activity throughout the year.
The Pacific Coast
West-facing peak attraction is their unique sunsets. North With a weather highlighted by his two seasons, rainy and dry , make a change of clothing depending on which one we are. In the dry yellow coat covers the interior plains and grasslands dotted with flowering deciduous trees in the rainy season and the infinite shades of green dress mixed with the territory until the blue ocean . In its long beaches resorts are developed more or less scale but always under strict environmental studies to ensure environmental sustainability and in the Papagayo Peninsula hotels with hotel chains like the Four Seasons or Marriott . South less populated and less developed natural space there are still very few large protected areas frequented as Corcovado peninsula where the forest is home to big cats like the jaguar and the puma and the Marino Ballena Park where you will often see families of humpback whales .
A great plain that begins in the Caribbean and reaches a ridge paste dotted with volcanoes and jungles. The evergreen northern lands are a major producing area of the country. Extensions of traditional crops such as cassava , plantains, bananas and exotic as ornamental plants and pineapple mixed with beef and dairy cattle . The volcanoes , rivers and forests are the main protagonists . The Arenal Volcano, Tenorio , Rincon de la Vieja are the great exponents of this ridge that reaches the border with Nicaragua , the most visible craters that expose its slopes and its activity, for contemplation and enjoyment of the visitors. Rivers and springs scattered water sources around the volcanoes listed in outdoor spas with fantastic gardens that can be enjoyed late into the night . Towns like La Fortuna have turned to the attention of tourists and outdoor activities such as canopy , rafting , trekking , mountain biking ..
Although the entire country lies within the tropics, altitude differences determine a wide variety of climates and microclimates. So in the Central Valley temperatures remain around 23 ˚ C with regular rainfall and limited to occasional brief rain showers between May and October. Moreover, Guanacaste has a dry season from November to April while in the South Zone especially in the Osa Peninsula , the rainfall reaches 5000 mm a year, mainly from April to December .
The Caribbean region shows little variation in hot and humid weather , as the rain is torrential during the year, with peaks from May to August and December to January.
In general , we can say that approximately 70 % of Costa Rican territory (except the Caribbean) in the months of December to April the precipitation decreases , considering the dry months. The remaining significant amounts of rainfall received so rainy months are considered .
Food and Drink
Daily life is characterized by simple local sites called Sodas , serving traditional Costa Rican dishes as “casado” consisting of meat, fish , or chicken cutlet served with rice and beans.
It is often also accompanied by fried plantain slices , lettuce or other vegetable and of course tortillas are served with a “casado” .
There are other dishes such as rice with vegetables, chicken rice or rice with shrimp.
Other traditional foods are tamal asado, bon bread , rice and beans , vigorón , tubers like yams and dasheen , brashly , coconut meat and fish oil .
Local specialties such as peach , corn tamales and an important part of local nutrition . Another typical dish is ceviche . For dessert we found the coconut flan or tres leches cake .
A specialty of the country are the existing types of local cuisine , such as Jamaican Creole cuisine with influence . As for drinks stands water pipe, Aguadulce , coffee, natural fruit drinks ( cas , blackberry , guava , papaya , pineapple , etc.) .
Costa Rican customs
The habits are formed both in the family and in the community and were obtained from the ancestors Aboriginal and Spanish . These are found at parties , meals , in the form of expression and the way how to deal with the joys and sorrows . They are a unique style of saying how you see the world that is around . Some of the practices that are carried out in the provinces are:
Use the basket to collect the coffee. These baskets are made from vines that are woven to give them the proper way . They are then sold to those who are responsible for collecting the grain.
Decorate yokes and carts brightly colored drawings .
The construction of adobe houses and decorating roofs with clay tiles .
Decorating houses with plants grown in different utensils and pottery , tires, tin cans , old pots , etc. . All waste container is used by housewives to plant some ornamental kills . This custom still found in rural areas.
In rural peasant custom of going to bed early , around 7:00 and 8:00 at night , getting up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning .
In each canton Ignoring the following traditions and customs : family parties , celebrations, clothes, food , beliefs , superstitions , legends , songs , proverbs , dances , games, music and poetry.
The cantons and districts spend their village to a saint . These traditional festivals are based on shifts or parochial fairs where they sell tamales, mince , corn , rice with various meats , blasted , natural sodas chan, mozote , pinolillo , fruit , roosters for meat, sausage , rice pudding , desserts , homemade bread and other meals . It organizes bingo, some rides, it stops the reign participants from each district and sometimes bullfighting or horseracing , fun activities that provide people . In these celebrations is traditional see clowns running through the streets of the town accompanied by the municipal band (or maroon ) , to provide joy and good memories to local people . In the field of language stand out songs , compliments , songs and pumps.
Folk dances are performed , with steps and screams as “El Punto Guanacasteco” , El Torito , Pampa and Yegüita , in indigenous dances as the Dance of the Little Devils highlights the music that sings to the landscape, to love traditions and used the marimba . Traditionally used “bombs” that are quatrains with direct popular language , messages of courage , love and mischief . Crafts are part of the traditions that make the workers : used mud (known as mud pot ) , ceramics , porcelain , imported paints , among others.
Costa Rican folklore
The folklore of Costa Rica covers all manifestations of everyday life : the ways of dressing, speaking , dancing , songs , sayings, crafts , superstitions and other reflections typical of the people. Knowing the folklore and traditions can see the roots of our ancestors , of the national. Because Costa Rica is a small country few customs that could be identified as belonging to a province , but our beloved Guanacaste province has its own story , which is based on pre-Columbian Mesoamerican roots . A lot of the typical or folk songs are interpreted in Costa Rica come from the Guanacaste region , for example , Punto Guanacasteco, El Torito , Passion, Love Season , Pampa , El Caballito Nicoyano and many others. In Costa Rica it is also customary to use sayings and are part of our folklore .
Costa Rican folk music
In Costa Rica there are four areas , perfectly groomed , which produces folk music : Guanacaste , the Central Valley , Limón and San Isidro del General.
The country is running the following rhythms : the so-called parranderas , street or parade , includes the jacks , jack waltz , quadrille dance and usually performed by the ” Maroon ” shifts , bullfighting, costume parades and other festivities. On the Atlantic side are other rhythms belonging to the African cultural group Limon .
The music is the most popular Guanacaste , to the extent mistakenly regarded as the only country folk . The most common folk rhythms of this area are : dances , street , points , parranderas , starts lumps, batambas , tambitos , Garabitos , embellishments and barranquitas .
The limonense music is the result of various influences like Spanish- village , the Afro-Caribbean ( the more rhythmic the country , used by the famous ” extras ” in their various dances and songs ) , the Hispanic Caribbean ( influenced by the music of Cuba , Puerto Rico , Panama and Dominican Republic , and afrotica , resulting from the mixture of Protestant anthemic music with secular music .
Surfing in Costa Rica
The beaches of Costa Rica has attracted surfer especially since the movie ENDLEES Summer II showed the world the potential of the waves in this country . Left and right waves , reefs and estuaries , warm water is the formula to enjoy all year round surfing.
The waves are big , but not as much as in Hawaii and Pacific coast beaches offer as many features optimal for this sport. Playa Tamarindo , Avellana Beach , Hermosa Beach , Santa Teresa is a small example of the places most visited by surfers . There are other distant shores to feel alone in the middle of paradise, as Coyote Beach , Nosara Beach and South Beach and the endless left Pavones . In the Caribbean the famous Salsa Brava wave attracts local and visiting experts .
In Costa Rica There are elements that make this practice are pleasant and warm water temperatures , abundant marine life and few people . If you want to see huge schools of fish and large marine animals such as turtles , sharks, manta rays , define and whales are in the right place . The best places to dive are in the North Pacific . From beaches like Coco or Playa Hermosa , Flamingo you can access local best diving and visit Catalina Island and Muricelago , and for experts in open water to see white tip sharks , moray eels, seahorses, etc. . In the south, around the Caño Island is a great place to be away from the coast. But the jewel of Costa Rica ‘s diving Cocos Island , only to experts is at 500 km from the continental shelf and is considered one of the top three places in the world for diving.
Every year hundreds of travelers come to experience this activity in the midst of an idyllic naturleza in the rivers of Costa Rica . Also with the comfort of the warm water , as we go through the river we glide through the impressive rapids (class III- IV ) of pure and crystalline waters , strong currents drawn along the river course and countless emotions between jumps and unexpected changes of direction . Along the way Huge waterfalls attract our attention and draw a white thread while descending the steep cliffs full of vegetation . In a gentler section of river we stop at the village of the river for fueling up on sandwiches and fruit. We still expect some emotion -laden fast before reaching the exit of the river. Towards the Caribbean down rivers like Pacuare and popping in cuayas banks can find Lodge for overnight and continue our journey the next day and found the river paifico shorter but just as fun and exciting as the Naranjo or Savegre that born in the heart of the Quetzales national Park .
Both the Atlantic and the Pacific coast offers many catches for fishing enthusiasts . On the Pacific side the star attraction is the Pacific Sailfish that crosses these deep waters between December and April, and the needle time and different species of tuna . The bass is found in the mouths of the rivers surrounded by mangrove shallows . In the Caribbean tarpon is one of the most prized trophies of those waters to catch that weigh more than 50 kilos and that immediately after the photo weighing and water are returned to the environs . Strategic Housing is dedicated solely to organize this activity and generally have their own boats , equipment, and captains , experts guide them to your fishing day a success.