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25 Interesting Facts about Costa Rica

25 Interesting Facts about Costa Rica

Want to know more about Costa Rica? Here are 25 Interesting Facts about Costa Rica that you probably didn’t know before reading this!

To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you as well. How many of these Costa Rica facts did you know before reading this? Share your result in the comment section!

Costa Rica is home to more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity

The country’s territory takes up only 0.03% of the world’s land, but despite the relatively small area, it is home to more than 5% of the total biodiversity in the world.

There are several iconic rainforest animals living in Costa Rica, and the government is also working hard to preserve the rainforests and national parks around the country. 

Costa Rican animal

The sun rises and sets at the same time 365 days a year

Due to Costa Rica’s close proximity to the equator, the sunrise and sunset are to be expected at the same time every day. 

Sunset Costa Rica

Nicoya is one of the blue zones on the planet

A Blue Zone is a special zone on Earth, where lifespan is noticeably longer than the rest of the world. Nicoya in Costa Rica is one such place. Centenarians are not unusual here, and most of the local residents can expect to live to at least 90. 

The secret? the local waters are unusually rich in Calcium and Magnesium, they have a deep faith in God, sleep for 8 hours, and have a very healthy diet of organic food, animal proteins, and fruits.

However, red meat is not very common in their diet. This is definitely one of the most interesting facts about Costa Rica, especially since there are only 5 blue zones in the world!

Nicoya

Costa Ricans refer to themselves as “Ticos” and “Ticas”

Another interesting fact about Costa Rica and its citizens. While foreigners often refer to them as Costa Ricans, they themselves instead say Ticos for males and Ticas for females.

Tica och Tico

Costa Rica is the second largest exporter of bananas in the world

Only Ecuador exports more bananas than Costa Rica. So when you go, make sure to eat some of those delicious local bananas!

Costa Rica Bananas

Earthquakes are quite common in Costa Rica

Don’t be surprised if you experience an earthquake while visiting. Luckily, the majority of them are smaller earthquakes without casualties, but it’s good to be aware that also larger earthquakes happen every once in a while.

It’s one of the most eco-friendly countries

Costa Rica has set a goal to become the first fossil-free country in the world, and they are already on a good path to achieve the goal.

It’s one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world, and today, almost 99% of all energy is renewable. They are certainly a good role model for larger countries. 

Wind Turbines in Costa Rica

Pura Vida is the national slogan

Pura Vida means pure life if you translate it literally from Spanish to English, but it’s more than that, it’s a lifestyle.

It is the national slogan of Costa Rica, and experts think that this Pura Vida mentality is one of the reasons that Costa Ricans often are considered one of the happiest people in the world.

Pura vida costa rica

Costa Rica is home to wild sloths

Sloths are incredible animals, and they are one of my favorite animals. The Costa Rican forests are home to these tree roaming animals, so when you go, look out for sloths! 

Sloth

Costa Rican women maintain their maiden name for life

In most countries around the world, the woman who gets married often takes the name of her husband. But, not in Costa Rica. The Ticas maintain their maiden name for life. 

Costa Rica woman

There’s a lizard known as Jesus Christ lizard

So, you already know that this country is home to a lot of animals and plants. But did you know that it’s also home to a creature that can run on water?

The Basilisk, also known as Jesus Christ Lizard can literally walk on water, and that’s how it got its nickname.

Tourism is the leading industry

While Americans are the major nationality of tourists coming here, there’s also an increasing amount of other international tourists who discover the beauty of Costa Rica.

Nearly 3 million tourists arrive annually, which has made tourism one of the leading sources of income for locals. Costa Rica is a Spanish speaking country and I recommend learning a few phrases in Spanish before your trip. 

ziplining tourist in Costa Rica

There are more than 1400 varieties of orchids

Are you a flower lover? Then you will be happy to know that you can find more than 1400 varieties of orchids!

Costa Rican orchids

There is no standing army in Costa Rica

Only a few countries in the world are completely without a standing army. Costa Ricans can proud themselves of being a friendly and democratic nation. 

More than 25% of Costa Rica’s land is dedicated to national parks, reserves, and wildlife refuges

Tourism and a smart government have saved much of nature, and now more than 25% of the country is protected as national parks, reserves, and refuges for wildlife.

This is incredible, and eco-tourism is continuing to develop and give further income to preserve the country’s biodiversity. 

national park costa rica

5 x Fun Facts about Costa Rica

  • Milk is sold in a plastic bag, not in a carton
  • The national anthem of Costa Rica is played daily on most radio stations at 7 AM
  • Costa Ricans often refer to their significant others as their “Media Naranja”, meaning the other half of their orange
  • Many men in Costa Rica express appreciation for beauty by whistling, complementing, or staring
  • Until a few years ago, wearing shorts was a sign of disrespect
Ticos and Ticas

Photo: Luis Alvarado Alvarado / Shutterstock.com

5 x Costa Rica Facts for Kids

  • Education and school is free
  • Christopher Columbus arrived in Costa Rica in 1502
  • The official language is Spanish
  • There are more than 50 species of hummingbirds
  • There are about 750,000 species of insects living here

Hummingbird

General Facts about Costa Rica

Below are some general info such as total population, land area, biggest lake, highest mountain and other general facts about Costa Rica that might be interesting to know.

  • Total Population: 4,9 million people
  • Capital: San Jose
  • Life expectancy: 77 years
  • Highest Mountain: Cerro Chirripo (3820 meters)
  • Land area: 51,100 km2 (19,700 sq mi)
  • Largest Lake: Lake Arenal
  • National Day: 15 September (Independence day)
  • Government: Unitary presidential constitutional republic
  • President: Carlos Alvarado
  • Currency: Costa Rican colón (CRC)
  • Official language: Spanish
  • Religion: 57% Catholic
  • Member of Nato: No
  • National song: “Noble patria, tu hermosa bandera” (Spanish)
  • Time zone: UTC−6 (CST)
  • Country Number/Prefix: +506
  • Country Code: CR

San jose costa rica

The Biggest Cities in Costa Rica

If you’re looking for facts about Costa Rica, it might also be interesting to know which are the biggest cities. Here’s a list of the top 10 biggest cities ranked after population.

San Jose Puerto Limón
Alajuela Heredia
Cinco Esquinas Desamparados
Liberia Puntarenas
San Vicente Barranca

Flag of Costa Rica

The Costa Rican flag is made up of blue, white, red, white, and blue horizontal stripes. 

flag costa rica

Map of Costa Rica

Below, you can see the country’s territory marked in yellow. It has borders to Nicaragua and Panama. 

Costa Rica Map


How many of these Costa Rica Facts did you know beforehand? Share your result in the comment section below!

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Marcelo Rodríguez

Monday 7th of June 2021

"Many men in Costa Rica express appreciation for beauty by whistling, complementing, or staring". Wait, what? that is considered harassment and it is ilegal here in Costa Rica. You can go to jail, for sure that is not a fun fact of the country!

Annette

Friday 6th of December 2019

Very informative article about Costa Rica. The drastic bushfires and an uncaring government here makes me sad when I know Australia can do so much better. Annette Fitzsimons

Ian

Monday 9th of December 2019

Article was so positive, started feeling happy too. Then I saw this comment, which made me depressed. Way to knock a whole country, love the positivity.