27 Fun Facts About Costa Rica | This Will Shock You

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27 Fun Facts About Costa Rica | This Will Shock You

  1. Costa Rica boasts 10% of the world’s butterflies!
  2. Consistently ranked among the happiest countries in the world.
  3. Generates over 99% of its electricity renewably, a global leader.
  4. Over 200 volcanic formations make Costa Rica a land of fire and beauty.
  5. Smaller than West Virginia, Costa Rica punches above its weight in biodiversity.
  6. With over 130 species, Costa Rica is a hummingbird enthusiast’s paradise.
  7. 300+ beaches offer a perfect coast for everyone in this beach paradise.
  8. Witness a fiery wonder from your car at Arenal, the world’s only drive-thru volcano.
  1. Tarcoles River has one of the world’s largest crocodile populations.
  2. The national flag was inspired by France and the United States.
  3. Costa Rica has a sloth sanctuary caring for injured sloths.
  4. Baseball is the most popular sport after soccer.
  5. The Osa Peninsula is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.
  6. The national dish is Gallo Pinto, a rice and beans dish.
  7. Costa Rica has 14 different climate zones.

Table of Contents

1. Costa Rica’s oxcarts were declared a symbol of national culture.

Traditionally used for transporting coffee beans, brightly painted oxcarts are a common sight in Costa Rica. Their intricate designs and craftsmanship make them unique works of art.

Oxcarts have come to represent Costa Rica’s rural heritage and are celebrated through festivals and parades. This is just one example of the many fun facts about Costa Rica that showcase its rich culture.

2. Costa Rica abolished its army in 1948.

In a remarkable move, Costa Rica decided to become a demilitarized nation. This bold decision freed up resources to invest in education, healthcare, and environmental preservation.

Costa Rica’s commitment to peace and diplomacy sets a powerful example for the world. It’s a testament to the country’s progressive values.

3. Around a quarter of Costa Rica’s land is protected.

Costa Rica takes conservation seriously. The country has established an extensive network of national parks, reserves, and wildlife refuges.

These protected areas safeguard precious habitats and allow visitors to experience the wonders of Costa Rica’s natural beauty. It’s a commitment to sustainability that benefits both wildlife and future generations.

4. Chocolate is derived from cacao beans, which are native to Costa Rica.

🍫🌱 Chocolate’s Birthplace 🌎

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Long before becoming a beloved treat, chocolate was enjoyed by indigenous people in Central America. Cacao trees have been cultivated in Costa Rica for centuries.

Today, you can learn about traditional chocolate-making practices in Costa Rica and savor the rich flavors of locally produced chocolate. It’s a delicious way to experience a piece of Costa Rican history.

5. Costa Rica’s coffee is world-renowned for its quality.

Coffee plays a significant role in Costa Rica’s history and economy. The country produces high-quality Arabica beans that are prized by coffee lovers worldwide.

You can visit coffee plantations, learn about production processes, and savor the delicious taste of Costa Rican coffee. It’s a delightful and energizing part of the Costa Rican experience.

6. Costa Rica is a pioneer in ecotourism.

Costa Rica recognized early on the importance of balancing tourism with environmental responsibility. The country developed a model of ecotourism that prioritizes conservation and supports local communities.

Visitors can explore Costa Rica’s natural wonders responsibly, knowing that their travels contribute to its well-being. It’s a win-win scenario for both nature and tourism.

7. There are over 200 volcanic formations in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s landscape is shaped by its volcanic activity. Some of these volcanoes are still active, offering visitors spectacular displays of natural power.

Volcanic soil contributes to the country’s fertile lands, while hot springs provide opportunities for relaxation and wellness. It’s a reminder of the dynamic forces that shape our planet.

8. The morpho butterfly is one of Costa Rica’s most iconic insects.

butterfly, insect, animal : Fun Facts About Costa Rica
🦋Iconic Morpho Butterfly 🦋

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With its brilliant iridescent blue wings, the morpho butterfly is a dazzling sight. These beautiful butterflies are found in rainforests throughout Costa Rica.

Their striking appearance makes them a symbol of Costa Rica’s natural wonders. Spotting a morpho butterfly is a treat for any nature lover.

9. Costa Ricans are nicknamed “Ticos” and “Ticas”.

This informal term of endearment is commonly used by Costa Ricans to refer to themselves. The word ‘Tico‘ or ‘Tica‘ is often added to the end of words, reflecting a playful and friendly spirit.

You’ll hear this nickname frequently during your travels, and it’s a sign of being welcomed into the warm Costa Rican culture. It adds to the charm of visiting this friendly country.

10. Costa Rica generates over 99% of its electricity from renewable sources.

Costa Rica is a global leader in clean energy production. The country relies primarily on hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, and solar power.

This commitment to sustainability demonstrates Costa Rica’s progressive approach to energy and its dedication to preserving the environment. It’s an inspiring example for other nations seeking to reduce their carbon footprint

11. Costa Rica is one of the happiest countries in the world.

Various surveys and rankings consistently place Costa Rica high on global happiness indexes. This reflects a society that values well-being, strong social connections, and a healthy natural environment.

The Pura Vida philosophy, meaning ‘pure life’, embodies the Costa Rican way of appreciating life’s simple pleasures. It’s definitely one of the best facts about Costa Rica!

12. Over 800 species of ferns grow in Costa Rica.

mushrooms, ferns, moss
🌿🌿 Ferns Galore! 🌿🌿

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Fern enthusiasts will find paradise in Costa Rica. The country’s diverse habitats provide ideal conditions for a wide variety of ferns to thrive.

From delicate maidenhair ferns to giant tree ferns, these ancient plants add to the lushness of Costa Rica’s rainforests. It highlights the incredible biodiversity found within this small but remarkable country.

13. Costa Rica is slightly smaller than the state of West Virginia.

Despite its outsized reputation for biodiversity and natural beauty, Costa Rica is relatively small in terms of land area. This compact size makes it easy to explore diverse landscapes within a short timeframe.

You can travel from rainforests to beaches to mountains all within a day in Costa Rica. It’s the perfect destination for those who want to experience a variety of ecosystems.

14. Sloths can be found throughout Costa Rica’s forests.

Sloths are one of Costa Rica’s most beloved animals. These slow-moving creatures spend most of their lives hanging from trees, munching on leaves, and sleeping.

Their relaxed lifestyle and charming appearance have captured the hearts of visitors worldwide. They are a quintessential symbol of Costa Rica’s laid-back attitude and commitment to wildlife.

15. The red-eyed tree frog is a familiar sight in Costa Rica.

This iconic amphibian, with its bright red eyes and vibrant green body, is a popular symbol of Costa Rica’s rainforests. Their distinctive calls and striking appearance make them a favorite among nature enthusiasts.

Spotting a red-eyed tree frog nestled among the leaves is a quintessential Costa Rican experience. They embody the vibrancy and diversity of the country’s wildlife.

16. Toucans are easily spotted in Costa Rica.

black and yellow bird on branch
🌺🦜 Toucan Territory 🌿

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Known for their large, colorful beaks, toucans are iconic rainforest birds. There are six different toucan species found in Costa Rica.

Their distinctive calls and bright plumage make them a favorite for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. They add an exotic touch to any visit to Costa Rica’s rainforests.

17. Costa Rica is home to around 5% of the world’s biodiversity.

Despite its small size, Costa Rica is a biodiversity superpower. The country’s rainforests, cloud forests, and coastal ecosystems teem with an incredible variety of plant and animal life.

Scientists estimate that over half a million species reside in Costa Rica – an astounding number for such a compact country. This makes it a haven for nature lovers and scientists alike.

18. Costa Rica has over 130 different species of hummingbirds.

Hummingbird enthusiasts will be in heaven in Costa Rica. These tiny, colorful birds flit through gardens and rainforests, buzzing and feeding on nectar.

Seeing the diversity of hummingbirds in Costa Rica is a magical experience for birdwatchers. Their presence adds a touch of vibrant energy to the natural landscape.

19. There are over 1,200 species of orchids in Costa Rica.

Orchid lovers will find a wealth of beauty in Costa Rica. These magnificent flowers come in a dazzling array of shapes, sizes, and colors.

The country’s varied ecosystems provide diverse habitats for orchids, from cloud forests to lowland rainforests. It’s a testament to Costa Rica’s remarkable plant diversity.

20. Monkeys are common throughout Costa Rica’s forests.

gibbon, monkey, primate
🐒🌳 Monkey Business in the Forest 🌿

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Costa Rica is home to four monkey species: howler monkeys, spider monkeys, white-faced capuchins, and squirrel monkeys. These playful primates are often seen swinging through the trees.

Watching monkeys in their natural habitat is a thrilling experience for visitors. It’s a reminder of Costa Rica’s abundant wildlife.

21. Costa Rica has more than 300 beaches along its coasts.

Beach lovers are spoiled for choice in Costa Rica. From pristine white-sand beaches to rugged surfer spots, the country offers a coastline for every taste.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation, water sports, or stunning ocean views, you’ll find your paradise on Costa Rica’s beaches. It’s an ideal place to soak up the sun and enjoy the ocean.

22. The basilisk lizard, nicknamed the “Jesus Christ lizard” can run on water.

This unusual reptile has the unique ability to run short distances across water using its hind legs and fringed feet. Its speed and agility have earned it a surprising nickname.

Basilisk lizards are a fascinating example of the extraordinary adaptations found in Costa Rica’s wildlife. Spotting one of these water-running lizards in action is a memorable sight.

23. The annual rainfall in Costa Rica can reach up to 25 feet in some areas.

Rainforests owe their lushness to abundant rainfall, and Costa Rica definitely receives its fair share. Certain regions experience incredibly high levels of precipitation throughout the year.

While rain showers might interrupt your beach day, they are ultimately what nourishes the country’s stunning natural beauty. And who doesn’t enjoy the fresh, vibrant landscapes after a good downpour?

24. Costa Rica is home to the only drive-in volcano in the world.

brown and black mountain under white clouds
🌋🚗 Drive-In Volcano Adventure 🚗🌋

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The Poás Volcano National Park offers a unique experience: visitors can drive right up to the edge of the crater. This allows for close-up views of the volcano’s steaming vents and active crater lake.

Poás Volcano provides a safe and accessible way to witness the geological power of Costa Rica’s landscape. It’s a thrilling and awe-inspiring natural wonder.

25. Over half of Costa Rica’s income from tourism comes from ecotourism.

Visitors are increasingly drawn to Costa Rica’s commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism. The country offers a range of ecolodges, nature tours, and conservation-focused activities.

This focus allows travelers to experience Costa Rica’s wonders while contributing to the protection of its environment. It’s a win-win for both nature and travel enthusiasts.

26. The term “Pura Vida” is used frequently in Costa Rica.

This phrase, meaning “pure life“, perfectly encapsulates Costa Rican attitudes toward life. It’s a greeting, a farewell, and a philosophy of appreciating the simple things.

Pura Vida embodies the optimism, friendliness, and laid-back lifestyle of Costa Rica. You’ll undoubtedly hear this expression throughout your visit.

27. Costa Rica facts often include the abundance of beautiful butterflies.

Butterflies are a common and captivating sight in Costa Rica. Visitors can marvel at their vibrant colors and graceful flight.

Numerous butterfly gardens offer opportunities to observe these delicate creatures up close. It’s a reminder of the beauty and diversity found within Costa Rica’s natural environment.


Explore the stunning beaches of Manuel Antonio, the lush rainforests of Monteverde, and the breathtaking Arenal Volcano.

Expect tropical temperatures year-round, with a wet season from May to November and a dry season from December to April.

The flag features blue and white stripes representing the sky, opportunities, and peace, with a red stripe symbolizing the warmth of the Costa Rican people and the blood shed for freedom.

Located in Central America, Costa Rica sits between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

Costa Rica is a democratic republic with a presidential system, characterized by stable governance, a strong judiciary, and a long tradition of political neutrality.

Costa Rican culture is enriched by a blend of indigenous, European, African, and Caribbean influences, showcased through vibrant music, dance, festivals, and traditional crafts.

Indulge in delicious dishes like gallo pinto (rice and beans), casado (a typical lunch plate), ceviche (marinated seafood), and tres leches cake for dessert.

Yes, Costa Rica is considered one of the safest countries in Central America, with a strong focus on ecotourism, environmental conservation, and friendly locals welcoming visitors with open arms.

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