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Costa Rica Car Hire - Did You Know?
- The name Costa Rica translates to 'Rich Coast'.
- Costa Rica also comprises of a number of islands, the biggest one being Calero Island at 58.5 square miles.
- It has a huge variety of flora and fauna and contains 5% of the world's biodiversity.
- The most recognised phrase used by Costa Ricans is "pura vida" and means "pure life" or "good life".
- Costa Rica is famous for its superior coffee beans, with Tarrazu being one of the finest beans in the world.
Costa Rica Mini Guide
Forming a bridge between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, Costa Rica is also a buffer between less tranquil countries: Panama to the south and war torn Nicaragua to the north. Costa Rica - the 'Rich Coast' - has a tradition of neutrality which its population enthusiastically support. The only cloud on its horizon is the risk of neighbouring conflicts spilling over its borders.
Much of the country consists of volcanic mountain chains, running north-west to south-east, that reach their highest point at Chirripo (3,820m, 12,533ft). Over half of the 2.7 million people live in the Valle Central, a highland basin which was the first area settled by the Spanish in the 16th century. The rich volcanic soils of the upland areas are good for coffee growing and the slopes provide lush pastures for cattle.
Lowland swamps cover most of the two coasts; the Pacific coast is wetter and cooler than the Caribbean. The north-west region is partly savannah and partly lowland forest. Increasingly people are settling along the river and mountain valleys. About four fifths of the country remains forested.
Costa Rica differs from its neighbours in that 80% of the people are white and most of the rest mestizo (of mixed European and native Indian ancestry). When Europeans arrived in the 16th century they introduced diseases, including measles, to which the Indians had no resistance. Thousands died and they have never recovered their numbers. Costa Rica was the first country in Central America to grow coffee and bananas commercially, which are still its major agricultural exports.