The Republic of Costa Rica (the “Rich Coast”) is a small country in Central America with both a Caribbean and a Pacific coast. It is exceptional in that many environments can be visited within a short time. Rain forests, cloud forests, unspoiled beaches, coral reefs, white water rivers and volcanoes can be reached within a couple of hours by car from San José. The richness of its flora and fauna is remarkable for so small a country: about 8000 species of higher plants and over 820 species of birds-more than all of the United States and Canada combined-make it a dream for nature lovers. A national system of parks and reserves totals a high 8% of the country’s territory.
Costa Rica is one of the few stable, democratic republics in Latin America. It has the highest standard of living of the Central American countries. The health record is excellent, and illiteracy is very low. Peaceful by nature, the Costa Ricans have no army, as it was abolished in 1948.
San José, the capital, has close to 1,000,000 inhabitants. At 4000 feet above sea level, it boasts a springtime climate all year round. The city surprises visitors by its vitality. Despite its cosmopolitan atmosphere with Central, South and North Americans as well as Europeans on busy downtown streets, its residents display an unmatched friendliness and warmth. Tourists as well as visiting businessmen happily testify to this. Every year the country attracts a large number of persons who, having visited Costa Rica once, decide to return to settle here.