Costa Rica has been an expat haven for retirees and others for decades because of its low cost of living, high quality – and cheap – medical care, warm weather climate, bargain real estate, and no-hassle residency.
But there are reasons beyond these practical advantages to make Costa Rica your home. Let’s take a look at some fun facts about this tropical Central American country.
- Pura Vida is the country’s unofficial motto. Directly translated as “pure life,” this expression is more akin to the “Life Is Good” t-shirts and bumper stickers you see for sale in North America. Pura Vida sums up the attitude Costa Ricans have about life. They value time with family and friends. They work to live, not live to work. They’re happy to live in a beautiful tropical country!
- Pura Vida is also an everyday phrase. It can replace “hello,” “good-bye,” “thank you,” and “your welcome” for starters. If someone asks how you’re doing – you can answer with a hearty Pura Vida! – I’m doing great!
- Officially, citizens of Costa Rica are costarricenses. But that’s really only used in news reports or in formal documents or situations. The nickname tico, for a man, or tica, for a woman, is more common. There’s some dispute over this, but some say it comes from the habit of Costa Ricans to attach the suffix “-tico” to words to denote that they are small. It’s also a term of affection.
- Costa Rica has had no army since 1948. It was abolished at the end of a civil war in that year. The army ban is enshrined in the constitution, with the money going to education, culture, and other areas. Costa Rica has been a stable, peaceful, and democratic country since then.
- With just 0.03% of the world’s landmass but 5% of its animal species – more than half a million in all, Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Its position between North and South America and the variety of climates and environments in the country, from beaches to rain forests to cloud forests to wetlands and more, makes this biodiversity possible. Of those many species around 300,000 are insects.
- The government and private individuals have shown a true commitment to conservation and wildlife preservation. A quarter of the land in the country is set aside and national park or private reserve.
- Costa Rica aims to be carbon neutral by 2021 – the first country to do so. It already generates 93% of its energy through renewable sources like geothermal, wind, and hydroelectric.
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