In the Spotlight – 182: Costa Rica

Post 436

Ranked number one in the 2012 Happy Planet Index. One of only 15 countries without an army, and one of the first sovereign nations without one. Machetes are commonplace, used not as weapons, but for just about everything else. The literacy rate is 95%. 10% of known butterfly species reside here. It contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity, yet the country only covers 0.03% of the Earth. The currency is named the colón. As of 2012, 90% of the electricity is generated through renewable sources, with the aim of being carbon neutral by 2021. There are no addresses or street names, so where somebody lives is often in relation to a landmark. For example, 200 yards east of the church. It’s not uncommon for parents to put coffee in the baby’s milk. McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and the like, do home deliveries. They named a national fern after Lady Gaga. And another after her fans. And shorts are not permitted in government buildings, as they are considered disrespectful. Yes, this is a heavenly paradise of unmatched awesomeness. We’re in Costa Rica.

The Republic of Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. At 19,000 square miles, it is the 129th smallest country on Earth, sandwiched between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovakia. It has a population of just four million. The name means ‘rich coast’ in Spanish. The country uses two flags, pretty much the same. The blue stands for the sky, opportunities, idealism and perseverance. The white stands for peace, wisdom and happiness. And the red stands for the blood spilt by the martyrs in defence of the country, as well as the warmth and generosity of the people. The country does not have a motto. But they do hate shorts. I must say, I am loving Costa Rica.

The country is famed for its volcanoes, national parks and wonderful coastlines. And the rainforests and plentiful wildlife is incomparable to just about anywhere else on Earth. There are the wonderful cities to explore such as Alajuela, Quepos, Jaco, Limon and the capital, the magnificent San Jose. You have Ojochal, a tiny town in peaceful solitude, a slice of the old country. Puerto Viejo, rich in a relaxed counterculture of elegant grace. And Manuel Antonio, not only picturesque but one of only two places where you can see all four types of native monkey. Although they are prone to stealing tourist’s sandwiches. Cheeky things.

There’s almost too much to see and do. The country may be small, but it’s bristling with verve and excitement.

I think the greatest place to visit is Monteverde. A luscious mountaintop oasis. In particular, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, which is an extraordinary attraction, a canvass of century old trees, painting a vista of remarkable majesty. It is breathtaking. A stunning tapestry of loveliness.

Costa Rica. The country of happiness, wildlife and a hatred of shorts.

Ciao :)(:

Images: The flag of Costa Rica and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

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