Costa Rica in Central America has been attracting tourist for decades. Lapped by both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is known for its beautiful beaches. However, there is so much more to this fascinating country than just sun, sea and surf. For instance, did you know Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world? Want to know more? Here are some of the most interesting facts about Costa Rica.
7 of the Most Interesting Facts About Costa Rica
1. Costa Rica is home to a Blue Zone
A Blue Zone is a place or region where inhabitants commonly live past the age of 100. Nicoya, a peninsula on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is one of the five Blue Zones of the world. Here, the locals’ lifestyle contributes to them living exceptionally long and healthy lives.
2. Costa Rica has many active volcanos
Costa Rica has six active volcanos. There are also 61 dormant or extinct volcanos. For decades, Arenal was Costa Rica’s most active volcano but it suddenly went quiet in 2010. The volcanos are scattered around three mountain ranges. The Guanacaste Volcanic Range is in northern Costa Rica near the border with Nicaragua. Here you’ll find Arenal Volcanoe, Rincón de la Vieja, Orosi, Miravalles, Tenorio, among others. The Central Volcanic Range in, eh, the centre of the country is where you’ll find the Barva, Irazú, Poás and Turrialba volcanoes, among others. The Talamanca Volcanic Range in southern Costa Rica is home to El Viejo Volcano.
Fun Fact: Poás Volcano has the second-largest volcanic crater in the world.
3. Costa Rica has an impressive coastline
Costa Rica is lapped by two bodies of water. The Caribbean Sea on the eastern side and the Pacific Ocean on the western side. There is 212km (132 miles) of Caribbean coastline and 1,016km (633 miles) of Pacific coastline. There is also 62km (40 miles) of coastline around Cocos Island. This island is roughly 550km (342 miles) from the Pacific shore of Costa Rica and is a designated National Park.
4. Costa Rica’s biodiversity is vast
Costa Rica contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Over 25% of the country’s land is protected and makes up national parks, reserves and wildlife refuges. Costa Rica is home to approximately 160 different protected areas. No wonder it is a great destination for eco-tourism.
5. There is no army in Costa Rica
In 1948, President José Figueres Ferrer abolished the Costa Rican army. He redirected military spending and funds into social programmes and investment in education, health and the environment. The policy for this was enshrined in the country’s Constitution. The Constitution policy also promotes conflict resolution by non-military means.
6. Costa Rica generates most of its energy using renewable sources
Costa Rica generates more than 99% of its electricity using renewable energy. The five main sources are hydropower, wind, geothermal energy, biomass and solar. This means the country uses its natural resources, for instance, its rivers, volcanoes, wind, and sun to generate electricity. For the last few years now, Costa Rica has run on renewable energy for an average of 300 days per year.
7. Costa Rica is home to a lizard that can walk on water
The Basilisk Lizard lives in Costa Rica. It has the nickname the ‘Jesus Christ Lizard’ because it can walk on water. The lizard is so light and fast that when it runs it can run across the surface of the water. Long toes along with fringes of skin that unfurl to meet the water create little air pockets under the lizard’s feet to make this possible.