Costa Rica Interesting Facts

Love it or leave it, Costa Rica a truly cool place to live in or visit. A small country, Costa Rica has perfect the ‘Pura Vida’ or pure life that is different for everyone.



  • Costa Rica hosts more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity even though its landmass only takes up .03% of the planets surface.
  • Costa Rica is officially the Republic of Costa Rica (Spanish: República de Costa Rica).
  • Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous people before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century. It remained a peripheral colony of the empire until independence as part of the short-lived First Mexican Empire, formally declaring independence in 1847.
  • Costa Rica has remained among the most stable, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America.
  • Following the brief Costa Rican Civil War in 1948, it permanently abolished its army becoming one of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army.
  • Costa Rica also has progressive environmental policies. It is the only country to meet all five UNDP criteria established to measure environmental sustainability.
  • Costa Rica plans to become a carbon-neutral country by 2021. By 2016, 98.1% of its electricity was generated from green sources particularly hydroelectric, solar, geothermal and biomass.
  • The name la costa rica, meaning “rich coast” in the Spanish language, was in some accounts first applied by Christopher Columbus, who sailed to the eastern shores of Costa Rica during his final voyage in 1502.
  • Like the rest of Central America, Costa Rica never fought for independence from Spain.
  • Coffee was first planted in Costa Rica in 1808. By the 1820s, it surpassed tobacco, sugar, and cacao as a primary export. Coffee production remained Costa Rica’s principal source of wealth well into the 20th century.
  • Costa Rica comprises 51,100 square kilometres (19,700 sq mi) plus 589 square kilometres (227 sq mi) of territorial waters.
  • Costa Rica’s marine area reaches 580,000 square kilometers, approximately 10 times larger than its land area.
    The smoldering Turrialba Volcano. Photo: gailhampshire
  • The highest point in the country is Cerro Chirripó, at 3,819 meters (12,530 ft); it is the fifth highest peak in Central America.
  • The highest volcano in the country is the Irazú Volcano (3,431 m or 11,257 ft) and the largest lake is Lake Arenal.
  • There are 14 known volcanoes in Costa Rica, and six of them have been active in the last 75 years.
  • The country has also experienced at least ten earthquakes of magnitude 5.7 or higher (3 of magnitude 7.0 or higher) in the last century.
  • Costa Rica also comprises several islands. The Isla del Coco or Cocos Island (24 square kilometers) stands out because of its distance from the continental landmass, 480 kilometers from Puntarenas, but Isla Calero is the largest island of the country (151.6 square kilometers).
  • Over 25% of Costa Rica’s national territory is protected by SINAC (the National System of Conservation Areas), which oversees all of the country’s protected areas, the largest percentage of protected areas in the world (developing world average 13%, developed world average 8%).
  • Costa Rica possesses the greatest density of species in the world.
  • Costa Rica’s climate is tropical year round. However, the country has many microclimates depending on elevation, rainfall, topography, and by the geography of each particular region.
  • Costa Rica’s seasons are defined by how much rain falls during a particular period. The year can be split into two periods, the dry season known to the residents as summer (verano), and the rainy season, known locally as winter (invierno).
  • TheCaribbean slopes of the Cordillera Central mountains, has an annual rainfall of over 5,000 mm (196.9 inches or 16.4 feet)
  • Costa Rica stands as the most visited nation in the Central American region,[104] with 2.9 million foreign visitors in 2016, up 10% from 2015.
  • Costa Ricans refer to themselves as “Ticos” (males) and “Ticas” (females).
  • Though Costa Rica has its own currency (the Colon), the US dollar is commonly used in retail stores, rents, and prices of vehicles, for example.
  • There are about 52 species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica, making Costa Rica a true hummingbird capital.
  • Monkeys are one of the most common mammals in Costa Rica – next to bats.
  • Costa Rican women do not take their husbands’ last name when they get married. They keep their maiden name for life along with their mother’s maiden name.
  • Called the grano de oro (grain of gold), coffee was Costa Rica’s foremost export for 150 years until tourism surpassed it in 1991. More than 247,104 acres of coffee is planted in Costa Rica, making it the 13th largest coffee exporter in the world.
  • Costa Rica is the second largest exporter of bananas in the world after Ecuador.
  • In Costa Rica, a discoteca is a nightclub, and a nightclub is actually a strip club.
  • In Costa Rica, speed bumps are called topes or muertos (dead persons).
  • Costa Rica’s Escazú is famous for witchcraft where, historically, people took to mountain caves to secretly practice their religious and magical rituals.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island is thought to be modeled on Costa Rica’s Isla del Coco.
  • Costa Rica’s largest body of freshwater is the manmade Lake Arenal.




Well if you hadn’t noticed after one full week of daily posts I just couldn’t keep up the pace once Sarah arrived. I imagine the same will be true when we return back to Dallas. Since it’s my blog and no one is paying the rent with it, I guess I can write just about anything and write it anytime I want to or have the time to. You might want to check out Sarah’s blog for a lot of the things we did on the remainder of this trip because frankly if I don’t write about them down the next day, the whole trip ends up being a big blur to me. I did see two separate but yet still linked events the other day in which I thought I would share. The first being beautiful in quite a different way than the second. As you might have heard we have some chickens at Jose’s house. We buy little chicks and feed them for 3 months and then they get eaten for dinner. Well, 2 of the full grown birds had been spared by Jose for some reason and had been given liberty to wander about the property by day and then locked up at night as to keep the creatures of the jungle from getting an easy meal. One of the chickens was black the other white, not that color makes any real difference, we eat all colors down here! As I was making my way back up the mountain the other morning I see both of said wandering chickens high tailing it up the road back to their coop. I pass the slower white one putting my truck between the two. I then took notice of how well the black chicken ran; again,color making no difference in the speed of chicken running as far as I know. I then caught a glimpse of something in my rear view mirror and turned around just in time to see a hawk swoop down and attack the white chicken. Feathers were flying as the hawk pecked at the chicken to subdue it. I paused for a second thinking I should break this senseless attack up but then came to my senses, this was how it was supposed to be. Nature in its purest form. This bad ass hawk, probably one third the size of the white chicken ( btw the black chicken took off double time after witnessing the demise of his bro) then drug the still flapping yard bird off into the jungle. I imagine to try and eat in peace before Sarah’s beloved vultures saw the kill and moved in for sloppy seconds. This was really something else to see. This bad mofo hawk did was he was supposed to do, instincts kicked in and he got down to business. 
This brings me to the second event. Jose brought little Oscar up to our house because I guess he must have been hounding his papa to come play with Sarah. He loves him some Sarah . So in the same manner but much less violent of course, Sarah did what her instincts told her to do. She played with a little boy who loves her back just as much.
When we dropped him back off at his house and headed down the mountain close to where I saw the hawk do his thing I noticed a glow about Sarah. She just got done doing her thing too. 

Top 10

I’m going to cheat here and lump a few days into one post and to make it even lamer, I’m going to do a top 10 list. 
        Top 10 Things I Love About Life Here in Costa Rica
10. Sunrises
We have tried to capture what the view looks like from our bed when the sun rises over the mountain tops and a new day springs to life but the photos and videos can’t even come close. I think Robbie is the only person besides us to have enjoyed it (I woke him up so he wouldn’t miss it!)
9. Sunsets
There are no two alike here. We often rush home just so we can catch the sunset from our deck. Again, it’s one of those things we have tried to capture but to no avail.
8. Sounds of the Jungle
There’s never a quiet moment here. All day and all night insects, critters and creatures of the sky make noise. Some sing, some chirp, some croak, some buzz, some squawk, some grunt, some howl and occasionally we hear one of Jose’s kids shreek with laughter.
7. Beaches
We have over 13 gorgeous beaches within a 30 minute drive down from our house. They are also different from one another in more ways than you can count. We have our favorites but still have more to explore.
6. Fresh Food
Forget about your Central Markets and Whole Foods people. There’s nothing truly fresh about either of those places. Fruits and vegetables can take weeks to arrive and fish is 2 days out if you’re lucky. Here you can buy fruits and vegetables from the farmers, meat from the ranchers and fish from the fishermen who bring their catches in every morning. That brings me to another silly phrase we city slickers love to throw around “organic”.  The stuff we buy (or sometimes grab from the jungle) here doesn’t need a label or a hefty price mark up to be called organic. It just is.
5. The People (Ticos)
Friendly is an understatement . Once you get past the fact that things move at a slower pace down here you begin to understand why Ticos are the way they are. There’s no rush to get anything done and they will never tell you No. The second part is somewhat frustrating because never saying No doesn’t necessarily mean Yes. Ticos just don’t like to say No. 
4. Waterfalls
I never thought I would enjoy something so much that nearly freezes you to death but I love waterfalls. We have quite a few nearby and have only been to about a third of them. Remember the word “Fresca”? Well, that’s the feeling you get after dunking in the fast moving and frigid clear water of a waterfall. Can’t wait to find the rest of them!
3. Hammock Time
One of the single best purchases I have ever made. I bought this one from a company in New Hampshire and snuck in into my surfboard bag on a flight down. Lounging in it has become one of my favorite ways to relax and enjoy the surroundings here.
2. Sharing This Place
Being able to bring friends and family down here and showing them as much of this place as we can is like rediscovering it all over again. We find ourselves going to visit new places just so we can later bring someone from back home . It gives us a great excuse to do more exploring and try new places to eat!
1. Home
We both noticed back a few trips ago that it no longer feels like we are just visiting Costa Rica anymore. Right from leaving the airport and heading to the South we feel like we belong here. Nothing really feels strange or out of place to us. This place is now Home.



Balance. Unlike my usual days at home waking up to the overwhelming amount of work that lies ahead, today, here in Costa Rica, I awake to the need to only get 2 things done. I’m sure you have heard the saying ” working to live” or ” living to work” . Most people fall under the latter. They get up everyday to go do something that they really don’t care for, only to make enough money to get by until next month. I try to keep one other cliche’ in mind every week. It goes something to the effect of  “if you find yourself waking up Monday morning and don’t feel like going into work then you need to do something else”. Since starting DEG I’ve never felt that way on a Monday morning. Yes, I am overwhelmed most of the time but I have one thing going for me. I love what I do. And that brings up another over used cliche’ ” if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life”. I don’t buy that one for a second, because I work my ass off. But I do  see what whomever’s brilliant mind was thinking when they coined that phrase. It makes sense. My problem is that I work so much that I don’t have any hours left in the day or week for that matter,to really enjoy life. I’m in “work mode” all the time. 
Back to the 2 tasks at hand for today. The first was to grab Jose and trek down into the rain forest past one of the rivers that we pump our fresh water to find in simple terms, a piece of wood with holes in it. Jose made the mistake of pointing out the unique piece of art made by Mother Nature herself on my first (Sarah’s second) trip down into the jungle. Well much to Jose’s dismay, I remembered that chunk of wood and thought it would make an awesome artistic looking type thingy display in our kitchen. Jose just thought I was crazy.  It hasn’t rain here for a day or so but the forest floor is always wet and slick. Thinking I was going to have to lug this wood back up I chose not to bring one of our homemade bamboo walking sticks. Sarah again showed me this trick. About a fourth of the way down Jose here’s me slipping and sliding and grabbing onto vines and anything else I can use to slow my falls. He buzzes off into the thicket and hacks me out a walking stick with his machete . Just so you know, I have my machete as well, all native style in a cool sheath, but it’s mostly just for looks as Jose hacks down all the growth in front of us as we make our through the jungle. Man can that guy use a machete, both right and left handed. I can’t even brush my teeth with my left hand! I notice at this point he has not fallen one time, nor even slipped up a bit. He’s got solid footing in this jungle, not sure if it’s from experience or what. Robbie has been in this stuff, he knows this ain’t no place for us Gringos! About half way down Jose gives me the look like ” there’s no way in hell we are going to find that piece of wood, it’s been a year and the river just washed it away” look. If you know me, I can be somewhat persistent , so we press on. About 15 more minutes in, Jose points with his machete off down the way and low and behold I think we have a winner. We get closer and I’ll be damned… it was still there, leaning up against a tree just like I remembered. The only problem is I remembered the wood to be only 3 feet or so long, this one is over 6 feet, and REALLY heavy. It’s soaked with moisture ( this is the rain forest) and its a hard wood, making it heavy in nature. I’m thinking, this is going to suck for us holding onto this thing and trying to make our way up the mountain. Mid thought, Jose knocks all the spiders and centipedes off it and throws it onto his shoulder and motions me to roll out. Jose is amazing, that guy has a huge piece of slimy, mossy, wet wood on his shoulder and is hiking thru rivers and up muddy mountain slopes meanwhile hacking us out a path with his machete, in his left hand to boot!  Of course we stop a few times on the way back so he can rest. I offer to carry the wood, he says no, probably knowing I would slip and fall and the wood would land on my head or something and he would have to then carry me out of the jungle. Smart man. On the way back, it hits me. This guy has balance. Both physical and in life. I have neither. Even though he works for me, he doesn’t really have a lot of stress or work load here. He spends tons of time with his family and he knows how to have fun. He can also  tight rope walk across a mossy fallen tree with another tree sitting on his should faster than I can get across with nothing except for my walking stick and dangling machete. He never misses steps, slips or tries to catch his balance. He has caught it already. I hope I can someday too.
Oh, I almost forgot, the second thing was to pick my wife up and I managed to get that done too!


Blue ocean. Today’s uneventful day began with Jose returning the plates I delivered the food on last night. Ticos are known for not being very good liars so when he told me that the whole family loved the steak and fixings I knew they really did enjoy it. I got up a little late today, like 7 or so, not sure why but maybe it’s because I have been watching the show The Walking Dead on my iPad. Go ahead and say it, yes I know, I brought technology to the jungle but it gets lonely up here sometimes! Bad zombie nightmares is what I chalk up my lack of sleep to. Today was my last full day to get things done around the house before Sarah comes tomorrow so I started as soon as I finished my power breakfast. Mid morning I made some microwave nachos to hold me over, cleaned up a bit and headed to pick up my led lamps, remember those? I get to Ventanas and guess what? They are not in yet. Funny how I predicted this on Friday. I then head to pick up my second load and guess what? They are are not ready either. I gave the guy an extra day and was told they should be done tomorrow. This is the surprise for Sarah so this here Gringo better see some results tomorrow! I head back to the house, do a few more things, decide I’m too lazy to cook for myself tonight and head down to El Jardin for some 4$ mahi dinner. Can’t beat that. I gotta get up early tomorrow, Jose and I are venturing into the jungle to try and find something I want for the house. Another Sarah surprise. Nothing really special today other than when driving down to Uvita I pulled over to take this pic of the ocean. I have been coming down here since 2005 and I have never seen the ocean this blue before. (remember pic was taken with crappy cell phone) It was spectacular. I hope I never get like some people who live in places like this and forget how special and beautiful it really is. I don’t want to ever take what’s here for granted.
Every time a small plane flies over head little Oscar says “Sarah, Sarah! “. He absolutely adores her. He’s going to be one happy kid tomorrow when she arrives. I think the jury is still out on me. It took him 2 days to smile and wave back to me. It was worth the wait though.


Fresca the Spanish word for “fresh” or in my case, the name of my favorite soft drink here in CR. I guess our equivalent in the States would be Squirt. You wouldn’t catch me dead drinking Squirt back home but here, I (we, this includes Sarah) LOVE Fresca. I woke up to yet another gorgeous morning and stumbled to our tiny kitchen to eat another power breakfast. Fruit Loops, juice and a banana from our jungle. One of those 3 is considered Fresca. I had about half a days work around the house today, got that done and drove up to pick up Jose. We had a couple things to do in the closet town to our house Cortes.
The first required both things from yesterday’s post, documents and esperando ( waiting ). After a couple hours of the latter, I wanted Jose to show me a few places to get fresh fish, meat, vegetables, fruit and bread in Cortes. We drove around, he pointed out the good joints and we headed to the carneria ( meat store ). I asked the butcher for some T-bones, well he knew what I was trying to say but didn’t have anything close in the meat counter. He says “uno memento” and comes back carrying the bloody carcass of cow! I’m not talking about a handful of beef here, I mean he lugged in a steer minus the furry pelt. He then slapped the carnage on his meat belt saw and proceeded to cut me out 5 t-bone steaks. Now that’s fresh! I think the only reason it took him so long to come back is because he was chasing the cow around the back lot with his butcher knife. I bought enough beef to grill up a hearty meal for Jose and his family. I texted him, yes I texted him, he’s like 400 meters up the mountain, that the steaks were done. We met on our road between the houses, flashlights in hand and I handed off the Fresca meat (I threw in some corn on the cob and peppers) . He thanked me and said they could all smell the meat cooking from their house. I hope they enjoyed fresh as much as I did.


The word for today is Esperanza or Hope as we say in English. I made a vow to myself to try and speed up the process of learning Spanish during the time I am here. It’s truly amazing how much quicker you can pick up a language by being “immersed ” in it as they say. That being said, I will probably need to stay here another 3 years instead of 3 weeks! Today I had some business to take care of in San Isidro the biggest city near our house. I don’t really mind the hour and a half drive there because once you leave our coastal highway the remainder of the drive is winding up and down the mountains where the weather and views are spectacular. I just hope ( espero ) someday that someone else can drive so I can enjoy the scenery. Long story short, I had just 2 things to accomplish in the city today, one being getting a new corporation started along with a living will in case of my untimely demise and the other I can’t write about here. Needless to say both of these tasks needed the one thing that basically you need to get anything done in Costa Rica… documents. And documents with official stamps to boot. If a document has an official government stamp on it the world is your oyster. This is where the word of the day comes into play. While waiting for my lawyers office to reopen (they close for 2 hours during lunch) and while waiting for our food to get brought to our table that we were only eating because we also had to wait for the other set of documents from the first place we went, I decided to refresh my memory on the word for “to wait” . I know that was an awful long run on sentence but I warned you my grammar is terrible. The Spanish word for to wait is “esperar” . Makes sense to me, while you are waiting, you are also hoping that you don’t have to wait any longer. Not sure why our words for hope and to wait aren’t even close? Everything down here takes at the minimum twice as long to get done as it does in the States. I really hated this at first. It’s kinda that “we’ll get to it when we feel like getting to it ” attitude. The way I have been now looking at it is maybe we are often in too much of a rush all the time and maybe we all just need to slow down and do things more like Ticos. Enjoy life now, not later and maybe there will be Esperanza for us all.

Ps. This was a banner day. I actually got both things accomplished in one day. There’s hope for me too!

Grass and a Toucan

Well the original plan for this weekend was to try to take it easy and hit the beach at least once. I woke up today feeling a tad bit guilty about my long nap the day before and figured I should try to get a few things done in the morning then head to the beach for BBQ and sun the rest of the day. Today I woke to a gorgeous sunny yet delightfully breezy morning. A morning I have yet to experience here yet. I eat my bowl of Fruit Loops ( the box does have Toucan Sam on it and we have toucans all over the property so I’m thinking basically I’m eating jungle food! ) and head down to tackle some issues I am having with my security cameras. I am now convinced that the companies that manufacture these cameras are all located in sunny California where no weather extremes whatsoever are present during their testing of product. Heat and cold in Texas kills equipment and 100% humidity and rain kills equipment here. Anyways, after 4 or so hours I get everything done just in time for lunch BBQ at the beach… Well my beautiful morning turned into a down pour at lunchtime. I think Sarah cursed me on this, jealous of my extra days here, but I can’t very well pin this rain on her ( it rains a lot in Costa Rica ! ). I knock out a few more tasks around the house and head to Palmar Norte to grab some fresh chicken and vegetables. I buy an extra bird for Jose and a huge melon for dessert for the kids and deliver in person to check out the new grass we just got installed around his house. Jose’s house was surrounded with that nasty red dirt and getting anywhere near it got you muddy as all hell. Now imaging 5 little kids living in a house surrounded by red mud all year round. Needless to say Marta their Mom was washing clothes and tiny feet 24/7. Jose tells me that the 2 year old Oscar was so happy about the grass he ran around the house barefoot 5 or 6 times the day it was installed. That made all the expense and time worth it for me right there. Grass makes kids happy here, nothing short of a Nintendo DS 3d whatever makes kids happy in the States. I think somebody has got life all backwards…