Costa Rica is situated in Central America, and is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. It has two coastlines: on the Pacific Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea. The country comprises a central plateau, mountain ranges and active volcanoes. Its two main mountain ranges are the Cordillera Volcanica and the Cordillera de Talamanca. As is the case with many other countries in Central America, Costa Rica sometimes experiences earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
The climate in Costa Rica is diverse, since it comprises various climatic zones. Because it is so close to the equator, it is usually deemed a tropical country. There is no winter in Costa Rica, where the days are generally sunny and warm. The Central Valley with San Jose is said to have the best weather in the country, with an average temperature of 22ºC. Areas at sea level have a higher average temperature (around 26ºC). The reason for the great variation in weather from region to region is the fact that Costa Rica is close to both and ocean and a sea; areas like Guanacaste, which are close to the Pacific, are dry, while Tortuguero, on the Caribbean, is humid and rainy.
Costa Rica is one of the most fashionable countries to visit when communion with nature is on the mind. It is one of the top 20 richest countries in terms of species biodiversity in the world. Travellers flock to Tortuguero National Park, known as the ‘Little Amazonas’ because of its verdant landscapes, rich variety of wildlife and majestic birds. Costa Rica is also known for its volcanoes, especially Arenal volcano, with its thermal hot springs, lush trails and lofty lookout points. Costa Rica’s impressive marine surface makes it a paradise for divers, while history buffs marvel at Guayabo, the most significant archaeological site in Costa Rica, home to the Guayabo National Monument, declared a World Engineering Heritage Site in 2009.
The Diquis, who populated southern Costa Rica and who made jewellery and figurines from gold in 500 A.D., were on one of the first native peoples to live in the area. In 1502, Christopher Columbus landed on Costa Rica and a couple of decades after, the area became a Spanish colony. In 1821, Costa Rica became independent from Spain, joining the Mexican empire. In 1823, it became one of the United Provinces of Central America, alongside Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In 1838, Costa Rica became totally independent.
Costa Rica is home to over 9,000 flowering plant species and around 800 types of ferns, as well as trees that can grow up to 30 metres tall! The country boasts around 600 pant species found nowhere else on earth, including the reichantha rolfeana orchid, the hylocereus calcaratus cactus and the quercus costaricensis oak. Wildlife is also abundant, with endemic species including the cocos flycatcher, the mountain spiny pocket mouse, and the dark-bellied worm snake. Costa Rica also boasts a bevy of colourful butterflies, including the dynamine Hecuba, the paratrytone browni and the perisama barnesi.
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