Ask most Americans and Europeans where Costa Rica is, and the reply will invariably be, "It's that island in the Caribbean." No, that's Puerto Rico. Costa Rica is in the Central American isthmus, with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. Its 3.8 million people live in a land area about the size of the state of West Virginia, a little under 20,000 square miles; but packed into such a small country live a people who are fiercely proud of their history, culture, and achievements. .
Just about every visitor to this country agrees that it is a very special place, and very different. But exactly what is so special about Costa Rica?.
Ticos, as Costa Ricans are called, are a polite, peaceful people, who speak mainly Spanish and a little English. Perhaps what makes Costa Rica so special is the people's desire to leave a good impression. Or could it be the exuberant friendliness they express so naturally, with a noticed willingness to get to know visitors and help them where they can? Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure: it is a rare visitor who does not return home impressed with the Ticos" warmth and hospitality. As a tourist destination, Costa Rica offers a wealth of sights and sounds to experience. And its unique history provides a colorful backdrop to every place you see: sun-drenched Pacific beaches, tropical jungles of the Caribbean coast, and the cosmopolitan cities and high mountains of the Central Valley. Visitors are astonished by the cleanliness of the country, the natural beauty and wildlife, and even the fact that you can drink water from the tap!.
Costa Rica is a prime example of a small country that has made it amongst "the big players," so to speak. It made its way from a country populated only by native Indian tribes all the way to being a Central American country of which has a respectable government, good country pride, and a sense of what is "Costa Rican.