Spanish Language School in Alajuela, Costa Rica

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Traveling in Costa Rica

Guadalajara

History and Politics

Costa Rica is a special jewel. It has a reputation for being an oasis of calm among its turbulent neighbors. Costa Rica’s 100 years of nearly uninterrupted democracy have helped make it the most stable economy in Central America. This stability and adherence to the democratic process are a source of great pride to Costa Ricans. We like to think of our country as a “Switzerland of Central America,” not only because of its herds of dairy cows but also because of its staunch position of neutrality in a region that has been torn by nearly constant civil wars and revolutions for more than 200 years.

A very important thing about Costa Rica it is that is the only country in Latin America that does not have an army, air force nor marine corps.

People

Costa Ricans, also known as “Ticos”, have a high literacy rate. Women constitute nearly 50% of the work force, and there is a large, working middle class; the gross disparity between rich and poor that you see in other Central American countries is not found here.

Food

Rice and beans are the basis of Costa Rican meals. At breakfast, they are called gallo pinto and come with eggs. At lunch or dinner rice and beans go by the name casado (which also means ”married”). A casado usually comes with a cabbage-and-tomato salad, fried plantains ( a type of banana), and a meat dish of some sort.

Health (Vaccinations)

No vaccinations are required for a visit to Costa Rica, unless you are coming from an area where yellow fever exists.

Climate

Costa Rica is a tropical country and has distinct wet and dry seasons. However, some regions are rainy all year and others are very dry and sunny for most of the year. Temperatures vary primarily with elevation, not with season. On the coasts it is hot all year, while up in the mountains, it can be cool at night any time of year. In the highest elevations frost is common.

Rainy Season or Green Season: from May to mid-November; during this season, days start sunny with rain falling in the afternoon and evening. Rain does not usually fall all day long, but when it does it is a good opportunity to climb into a hammock and catch up on your reading.
Dry Season (considered summer for Costa Ricans): from mid-November to April; this season is very similar to the Spring. It is sunny and fresh because of the wind.

The country's natural attractions: wildlife and reputation for enlightened conservation draw tourists from all over the world. Successive governments have made a real effort to preserve the country's image as eco-tourism heaven, making Costa Rica one of the best places to experience the tropics naturally and with minimal impact.

Our country is mostly coastline

So it has some of the region's best surfing, beaches galore and a climate that encourages slothfulness in all species.

Full country name: Republic of Costa Rica
Government: Democracy
President: Abel Pacheco (2002-2006)
Currency / Cash: The unit of currency in Costa Rica is the colon.

Area: 51,100 sq km (19,929 sq mi).
Population: 3,710,558 (growth rate 1.7%).
Capital city: San José (pop 333,000).
People: 96% Spanish descent, 2% African descent, 1% indigenous Indians, 1% Chinese.
Language: Spanish, Creole English and Indian dialects.
Religion: 85% Roman Catholic, 14% Protestant.

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