1) Costa Ricans refer to themselves as Ticos (males) or Ticas (females).
2) The Guanacaste is Costa Rica’s national tree and the clay-colored thrush is the national bird. The national flower is the guaria morada, an orchid.
3) Costa Rica has a population of 4.5 million and a life expectancy of almost 77 years, one of the highest in the world.
4) There are 800 miles of coastline in Costa Rica between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.
5) Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces: San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago, Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Limon.
6) There are more than 121 volcanic formations in Costa Rica, and seven of them are active. Poas Volcano has the second widest crater in the world (nearly one mile in diameter), and Arenal Volcano is one of the ten most active volcanoes in the world.
7) Chirripo Mountain is the highest point in Costa Rica at 12,500 feet. The country’s lowest point is 790 feet below sea level in the caves of Barra Honda National Park.
8) Irazu is the tallest volcano in Costa Rica at 11,259 feet.
9) Costa Rica hosts more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity even though its landmass only takes up .03% of the planet’s surface. There are more than:
130 species of freshwater fish
160 species of amphibians
208 species of mammals
220 species of reptiles
850 species of birds
1,000 species of butterflies
1,200 varieties of orchids
9,000 species of plants
34,000 species of insects
and still counting as new species are discovered every day
10) More than 25% of Costa Rica’s land is dedicated to national parks, reserves and wildlife refuges. There are more than 100 different protected areas to visit.
11) A soda is a small, informal restaurant that serves traditional meals like chicken, rice, beans and salad for $2-$3 a plate.
12) A pulperia is a neighborhood store that sells essential foodstuffs like canned goods, eggs, milk, bread and some produce.
13) For most of Costa Rica, the dry season runs from December through April. During these months, the Pacific coast and most of the Central Valley receive little rain, or the odd afternoon shower. May through mid-November is considered the rainy season, when days are marked by sunny mornings and late afternoon thunderstorms. The Caribbean coast, Monteverde and Arenal areas are exceptions to this rule, and have no distinct dry season.
14) The Tempisque River Bridge (known locally as El Puente de Amistad) that connects the mainland to the Nicoya Peninsula was a gift from Taiwan.
15) Costa Rica’s official language is Spanish, though a large number of its citizens are bilingual. English, due to its status as the international language of tourists, is the most common second language in Costa Rica.