Interesting Fun Facts about Costa Rica
Thursday October 28, 2021 - Posted by admin
Do you have plans to travel to Costa Rica to learn Spanish and live a green tropical adventure while improving your Spanish? Costa Rica is known for its sprawling rainforests, cascading waterfalls volcanoes and chattering toucans. This al makes it a great destination for an adventure trip and a Spanish immersion program. To get you going, we have listed 15 fun facts about Costa Rica that will put the country at the top of your bucket list.
1. ¡Pura vida!
Let’s start with this short and typical phrase in Spanish, at the same time one of the most famous curiosities of Costa Rica: the use of the expression “Pura vida”. In Costa Rica, you will hear “pura vida” at all hours, not only at the Spanish School: “pura vida’ is a greeting, a farewell, an “how are you?” and also “I wish you the best’, and so one. It is a phrase of encouragement, to celebrate a victory … Anything will do to exclaim pura vida !!
2. Why are its inhabitants called Ticos?
The story goes that in 1856/57 Costa Rica was stalked by the army of filibuster pirates who wanted to storm the coast. Costa Rica had the help of soldiers from other neighboring countries, who realized that the Costa Rican combatants used the diminutive -ico, -ica (chiquitico, for example, meaning: small) a lot. In addition, they affectionately addressed their compatriots calling them siblings. With time and continued use, the inhabitants of the country became Ticos and Ticas.
3. Costa Rica one of the happiest countries in the world
According to the Happy Planet Index, in 2012 Costa Rica held the top position as the happiest country in the world. A lot of factors play into this ranking including the fact that the government invests funds that it would have spent on an army (which was abolished in 1949) into education, healthcare and pensions. It has since slipped from the top position, but it’s still a very happy country.
4. In Costa Rica you can find a sanctuary that protects millions of turtles
The Ostional Wildlife Refuge of Costa Rica protects millions of turtles that nest there. It was established in 1984 to prevent turtle egg poaching and is the only place in the world where you can legally harvest turtle eggs. If you are in Costa Rica between July and September to learn Spanish, you can see sea turtles lay eggs on the beach at Tortuguero National Park.
If you study Spanish at the school in Playa Tamarindo, you can visit the Marino Las Baulas National Park, where giant leatherback turtles come every year to nest and breed. These tours can be booked directly at the reception of the school From October to February.
5. Coffee is a national icon in Costa Rica
Despite being a small country, Costa Rica is the 13th largest coffee exporter in the world. The first coffee beans arrived from Jamaica in 1779. They were baptized as golden beans, since thousands of kilometers of plantations made the coffee industry the main source of income for Costa Rica until tourism overtook it in 1991. Beyond economic, drinking coffee is a ritual in every home in Costa Rica. Your Spanish teacher or host family mum will tell you more about it.
6. 5.25% of the territory is protected
Despite being a small territory, a quarter of Costa Rica’s surface is considered as national parks and, therefore, fully protected against possible destruction.
7. Recreational hunting is prohibited
To show the great respect that Costa Ricans have for animals, the government banned hunting as a recreational activity in 2012; one of the curiosities of Costa Rica that shows how much they love nature.
8. Costa Rica has 200 volcanoes
There are about 200 volcanic formations in the country, half active. The most famous volcano is the Arenal Volcano, one of the most active in the world. Fortunately, since 1968 there have been no dangerous eruptions. Still, with so many volcanoes, the land in Costa Rica is alive: the Costa Rican Volcanological and Seismological Observatory records several tremors every day.
You can visit the Arenal Volcano on a day trip if you learn Spanish in Playa Tamarindo (see more information below).
9. The largest lake in the country is artificial
One of the most unusual curiosities of Costa Rica: Lake Arenal is the largest in the country and it is artificial! It is at the foot of the Arenal volcano and is a great center for recreational water sports.
10. Take into account the ethical time
Your Spanish lessons and the tours will start on time, but if you make any other appointments with the locals… the safest thing is to assume he or he will show up a little later. This delay is part of the culture of the country and is known as the ethical hour.
11. Have you heard of Isla del Coco?
Have you heard of Isla del Coco? It is an island in the Pacific 600 kilometers from the mainland. It is totally uninhabited despite being large enough (12 × 5 kilometers). And did you know that the beginning of the movie Jurassic Park was shot there? Millions of people have virtually visited Isla del Coco without knowing it, making it one of the most artistic curiosities of Costa Rica.
12. Costa Rica Slang
Another of the curiosities of Costa Rica is the amount of their own words they use. Sometimes it seems like speaking Spanish is not enough. The street slang of Costa Rica is called “pachuco” and it’s pretty different language from Spanish. “Bretear” means to work, “mae” is equivalent to the “tío” (uncle) in Spain (as in ‘dude’ or ‘guy’) wile “tuanis” is used when something is cool.
A person that is very stubborn can be called “jupa” (head) or “jupon” (big head) while “jalarse una torta’ (pull a cake), is used when people do something dumb as in to screw up. Other typical Costa Rica Slang: a gas station is called a “bomb” and a traffic jam a “prey”.
Even the cities have nicknames in Costa Rica: when you hear the locals talk about Chepe, Moncho and El Puerto they are actually talking about the cities San Jose, San Ramón and Puntarenas.
13. Nature, Nature, Nature
From surfing to white water rafting to zip-lining, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities for thrill-seekers. Costa Rica is known to have some of the best surfing waves in the world and the rainforests are ideal for treetop trekking adventures.
14.- 20,000 different types of spiders live in Costa Rica
Can you imagine: 20,000 different types of spiders? One of them is the most poisonous animal in the country, the famous “black widow”. It’s venom is about15 times stronger than the venom of a rattlesnake. Fortunately, they seem not to be aggressive spiders and they only bite people in self-defense.
Highlight: learn Spanish in Playa Tamarindo
Playa Tamarindo is located in Costa Rica’s northern pacific coast, known by many as the Gold Coast for its idyllic sunbathed beaches, extraordinary sunsets and the perfect waves that attracts surfers of all levels. The soft sand and crystal-clear water of this spectacular beach attract people all year round. For the active, sports of all kinds are available: kayaking, surfing, snorkeling, diving, fishing, sailing, ATV, horseback riding, hiking, canopy, golfing and, mountain-biking. Playa Tamarindo became a surfer’s paradise thanks to the variety spots it has for all surfing levels.
A former fishing village, Tamarindo is a small but multicultural town that attracts national and international tourists all year round. Playa Tamarindo a popular destination for a Spanish immersion program. The town itself is quite colorful with plenty of local Tico flavor. If you live here and study Spanish, you’ll find bakeries, surf schools, tour operators, supermarkets, an outdoor vegetable market, as well as art galleries, pottery stores, beauty spas and restaurants, bars, and discos.
Tip: combine a Spanish Course in Playa Tamarindo with other destination in Costa Rica: