Costa Rica stands out not only in the region of Central America but on a global scale. People always want to know what makes Costa Rica different. Without going into the political topics, this post is for visitors that plan on taking a vacation to Costa Rica.
When you look at Costa Rica on the map, it is about the size of West Virginia. This might sound like not much, but when you take a closer look at Costa Rica, you will notice that this small area on the planet is filled with a thousand different worlds. You will find different cultures, ecosystems, people, beaches, and elevations that me you feel like you traveled to a completely different part of the globe.
This is the word that makes Costa Rica different. The diversity in almost everything is what makes every four-hour drive in Costa Rica feel like 10 minutes. Hollywood keeps our attention by changing scenes, and Costa Rica is your vacation version of an action-packed movie.
Why is Costa Rica so Diverse
The diversity in Costa Rica comes down to one main reason, location. Costa Rica is the bridge between the Americas with access from both the Pacific and Caribbean.
Costa Rica is also close to the equator, only 8 degrees above the equator, making it a hotspot for biodiversity.
Costa Rica also has active tectonic activity giving it mountain regions that are ideal for coffee which attracted many Europeans to Costa Rica.
The railroad system in Costa Rica was built by mostly Afro-Caribbeans creating a culture of its own.
Costa Rica’s location kept it out of reach of the Mayans to the north and out of the Incas’ reach to the south. This led to much more diverse indigenous societies of many smaller tribes.
Diversity in People
We always tell our guests that Costa Rica is filled with beautiful volcanos, beaches, and rivers, but the best part of Costa Rica is its people. The Costa Rican’s are happy to have conservation and laugh with anyone.
Look how happy my daughter is in the picture with Koa Bryant Costa Rica’s junior surf National Champ.
The Tico is a mix of European descent, mestizo, and afro-Caribbean. All consider themselves Ticos, but each carries its different customs and traditions.
Diversity in Biodiversity
When it comes to diversity, there is almost no other place on Earth where you can talk about more diversity in biodiversity than Costa Rica.
Costa Rica’s rainforest is diverse not only because of its location and the different types of rainforest but also because of the government’s history of protection.
I use to show our guests a chart that showed Costa Rica had more birds than all of North America and Canada combined and more butterflies than the entire continent of Africa. If you look at the comparison of the size of each landmass on a map it is quite amazing.
Diversity in Beaches
If you visit FL, you can visit a couple of hundred miles of Coastlines, and each time you walk out to the beach, it might be different, but you will still be able to tell you are in FL. Costa Rica has so many different beaches along its coast that you will think you are visiting a totally different country.
Beaches from white, shell, pink, black, rock sand all up and down the coastline. There is a beach for everyone in Costa Rica, and while FL beaches are beautiful, Costa Rica definitely offers a larger variety for its size.
Diversity in Culture
Some countries have diversity in people but not in culture. Costa Rica does, and it is mostly based on its topography and how steep the mountains are, and the separation of the different valleys. While cultures certainly are not what they were in any part of the world, there is still a very distinct difference between your Spanish decent Costa Rican’s, Indigenous, and Afro-Caribbean.
Diversity in Ecosystems
This is one most people are usually surprised about. Many people don’t know a dry tropical rainforest and a moist tropical rainforest or a highland called the paramo and everything in between like the famous cloud-forest.
The amazing part, as mentioned in the beginning you can go from one ecosystem to the other in five minutes due to the elevation change.
If you are looking for an adventure that won’t have you doing the same thing and seeing the same stuff over and over then, Costa Rica is the perfect spot.
I fell in love with Costa Rica for the same reason. For those of us that like being in a conversation and then yelling “squirrel”! You will love it here!