Costa Rica is located in Central America between Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the South. Costa Rica is bordered on the West by the Pacific Ocean and to the East by the Caribbean Sea. From the calm waters of the Caribbean to the legendary surf of the Atlantic and the lush mountainous jungle that makes up a significant portion of the country’s interior, Costa Rica is often referred to as paradise. Costa Rica is considered one of the happiest countries in the world and Costa Ricans report a high quality of life, a sense of well being, a long life expectancy, and a tiny ecological footprint. The five million inhabitants (referred to as Ticos and Ticas) share diverse cultures from eight Indigenous tribes, African descendents on the Caribbean coast, and Spanish descendents dating back to Spanish colonies that were established in the 1650’s.
Costa Rica is a global model for sustainability, boasting a 98% renewable energy rate. The country has worked diligently to reverse decades of deforestation, shifting from large-scale exportation of coffee and bananas in favor of sustainable tourism and microchip manufacturing. Fifty percent of Costa Rica is covered in dense forests, yet Costa Rica contains 6% of the world’s biodiversity on a land mass that equals .03%. Ironically, Costa Rica’s lack of fossil fuels led to less development during the 20th century and is now resulting in a prosperous economy. The country has used the extensive river system and