31 December 2008

Welcome to "Costa Rica LIVE"

Hello everyone! Welcome to this blog where we will take you on a virtual tour across this beautiful caribbean nation of Costa Rica, a paradise close in our hearts and at the same time far away (although not that much!) on the maps.

We will talk about tourism, ecology and biodiversity, of course; about the fascinating hotels next to wonderful beaches surrounded by palm trees, about visiting colonial cities full of history, about food and cuisine with a caribbean twist...

We will also talk about breathtaking landscapes and corners of the country little known by mass tourism, but full of beauty and authenticity, and of course about the Ticos, the true Costa Rican people, their sympathy and their envy to live life with true caribbean joy.

Finally, for those who are seriously thinking about relocating in Costa Rica, we will be posting useful information about housing and real estate.

Also: Maps, information about living in Costa Rica, Costa Rican cities and useful tips about subjects such as travel, visas, work permits, and of course education, health and medical assistance.

And many more things: be patient as we will be doing our best to make comments and ask questions, as we will answer as soon as we can.

Welcome to Costa Rica, Pura Vida! (Pure Life!)!

05 April 2008

History of Costa Rica

The aboriginal inhabitants of what today is Costa Rica were part of the transition area between Mesoamerican and South American cultures. Population was sparse and without the magnificent buildings and cultural development of Aztecs, Incas or Mayans; local cultures, however, reached a very high level in pottery and in gold and silver work, with beautiful results.

Indigenous population declined quickly after the colonization due mainly to diseases brought from Europe.

Scarcity of workforce, limited mining resources, distance and difficult communications from the administrative capital (Capitanía General) of Guatemala in colonial times, caused Spanish colonization to be very slow and seriously limited in its economic resources. Costa Rica was at that time the southernmost and poorest region of New Spain. The provincial capital was then the city of Cartago.

Independence from Spain was proclaimed by the Federal Rpublic of Central America in 1821. After a short period of annexion to Iturbide’s Mexican Empire, this republic became independent again but was short-lived, dissolving in 1842.

When, after several years of civil war in Nicaragua, the American mercenary William Walker seized power, he aimed to the neighboring Costa Rica. The just created National Army of Costa Rica defeated General Walker’s troops in Santa Rosa (Costa Rica) and Rivas (Nicaragua), returning peace and stability to the region on April 11th, 1856.

Costa Rica suffered three interruptions of constitutional rule during the 20th century. The first one was in 1917, then again in 1919 and the last one in 1948 due to electoral fraud, which led to a civil war between both sides. On December 1st, 1948, José Figueres Ferrer, leader of the winning faction, abolished the army, thus transforming Costa Rica in the first world’s republic with no army. Since then, democratic alternation and political stability have allowed a much higher degree of development and social peace than what is unfortunately usual in the region.

Tourism in Costa Rica: Ecotourism

Costa Rica is a tiny country but enormously rich in tourist attractions:


The Caribbean shores boast a great variety of marine ecosystems and its beaches of white and black sand, ideal for the practice of outdoor and sea activities, such as deep sea fishing and scuba diving, and also to enjoy sunbathing and seaside strolls.

The Pacific coast has excellent tourist resorts and its beaches are preferred for the practice of surf, for example. Some of them are: Esterillos, Jacó, Hermosa, Boca Barranca and near the Marino Ballena National Park, where a famous long wave, loved by surfers, usually appears.

Adventure sports

For the lovers of adventure sports, Costa Rica is a destiny with plenty of emotions and adrenalin waiting for them, in sports such as hitchhiking, canoeing and canyoneering.


But it is indeed ecotourism what has placed Costa Rica in the place it occupies today in international tourism. Ecotourism means tourism with a minimal impact on the environment. The income obtained from it should be reinvested un protection of natural areas and benefits for local populations, helping them to reduce their dependence from other economic activities more harmful for the environment.

The Costa Rican territory, birthplace of ecotourism, is also the place where it has reached its maximum degree of development. Costa Rica possesses 20 natural parks, eight biological reserves and a wide range of protected areas that captivate ecotourism adepts.

In order to have a rough idea of the importance of Costa Rican biodiversity, we may just consider the fact that it is home for more species of birds than the whole territory of the United States, and more species of butterflies than the whole of Africa.
The offer for excursions and trips is really varied: from horse riding to hitchhiking and birdwatching guided tours. But please, remember always to behave like a good ecotourist: respect nature and leave everything behind you exactly as you found it.