Brief History of Costa Rica

DSCN4629Christopher Columbus arrived and settled in Costa Rica in the year 1522. The provincial capital was situated in Cartago, which is at the base of the Irazu Volcano. Costa Rica joined other Central American provinces in 1821 in a joint declaration of independence from Spain. In 1824 the capital was moved to San José.
William Walker, an American Filibuster, began incursions into Central America in 1856. He proclaimed himself president of Nicaragua and re-instated slavery. He attempted to expand to Costa Rica; however, the Commander in Chief of the Army of Costa Rica, President Juan Rafael Mora Porras, defeated the filibusters in Rivas, Nicaragua. Juan Santamaria, a drummer boy, lost his life while torching the filibuster’s stronghold located in Rivas. Today he is remembered as a national hero.

Costa Rica is one of the few countries who practice the democratic system without the assistance of a military army. José Figueres Ferrer abolished the army in 1949. He became a National hero, when he won the first election under the new constitution in 1953. Costa Rica has been called the Switzerland of Central America.

The capital, which is San José, Alajuela and Heredia lies in the middle of the Central Valley (meseta central). Approximately two-thirds of the nation’s population lives in this small, fertile valley.

Although Costa Rica is primarily an agricultural country, today, their current economy is
based on technology and eco-tourism and the major source of export income is technology. Many technology companies have established operations in this country, which include Motorola, Intel, Microsoft and others. Local companies also manufacture and export software including computer related products.

Costa Rica used to be known as the biggest producer of bananas and coffee; however, pineapple has surpassed the production of coffee. The country also produces melons, ornamental plants, sugar and textiles. Because of its mountainous terrain and abundant rainfall, it is able to construct a dozen of hydroelectric power plants. This makes the country self-sufficient in electricity. Nevertheless, it relies on import for liquid fuels.
Tourism is growing rapidly. The population enjoys a more or less high standard of living. Many own lands and houses.

rainforest-lapazMangroves–The mangroves are a part of our ecosystem. They exist at the fringe of the mainland, thriving on the blending of the marine salt waters and the fresh water sources of the land.
Mangroves are a variety of trees whose roots grow above the ground to provide aeration.

The trees provides habitat for several species of marine life that are in development. They also serve as filter for fresh water dumping into the ocean from lakes and river.
A ride through the mangroves is relaxing and is great for all ages. Nature lovers will be fascinated with this spectacular view.

Coral Reefs
Coral reefs are animals, plants and geological formations. These reefs are mostly seen on the coast where water is coral-reefclear and healthy. The coral reefs is made up of approximately 35 species of coral. These include elkhorn coral and smooth brain coral.
The underwater is home to sea urchins, lobsters, turtles, moray ells, sharks and and abundance of bright colored fish of various size and shapes.
The most beautiful coral reefs is found in Cahuita. It extends 500 meters out from Cahuita’s point. The fan shaped reef covers 593 hectares.

The species identified on the Cahuita reef include 128 of algae, 44 of crustaceans, 140 of mollusks, 3 of halophytic phanerophytes, and 123 different fish species.

Costa Rica is a giant when talking about rainforests. The lush green forests is due to the abundance of rivers and springs everywhere.
The rainforest is divided into different layers. Each with different animals and plants adapted to each area.

Fern and mosses layers the ground followed by foliage and a variety of shade trees. The full grown trees which can reach the height of 190 feet constitute the last level of the rainforest.

The tropical dry forests have short, stocky trees (approximately 45 feet high). Under these canopy trees, there are smaller species of trees and shrubs with lots of prickly spines.
Some tropical forest animals are coaties, white face monkeys, howler monkeys, sloth and including butterflies.

floraCosta Rica’s lush flora is a rich one. It is protected through a series of national parks. One can find more than 9,000 species of “higher plants”, and at least 800 species of ferns.

There are many more species, some of which are widespread in the country, and some which are limited to an ecosystem or to a particular area.
A collection of flowers arrayed with vivid colors attracts several species of butterflies. Other plants and trees blanket the forest. Common to the region are begonias, orchids — 800 species, anthuriums, and blood of Christ– named for the red splotches on the underside of its leaves.
The trees adapt to their living environment according to their species.

Costa Rica’s fauna is abundant. “The National Institute of Biodiversity has identified at least one million species,” between plants, animals, and insects. In the rainforest you will find a number of different amphibians, such as the birdpoison dart frog.
Many amphibians possess poison which is translated into a toxin that they secrete from their skin. If they are touched, the toxin can produce skin irritation.
Other inhabitants of the forest are reptiles such as crocodiles, turtles, iguanas and snakes including the Boa Constrictor.

There is a variety of insects such as butterflies (many species); Rhinoceros Beetle, and ants. Among the several species of ants we find the leaf-cutter ant, the army ant and the Aztec ant. It is amazing to see how they operate. The army and for instance, march in large number over the land and destroys mostly everything in their way and sight.

Costa Rica is a paradise for bird watching. It’s location serves as a transition point for a variety of birds that migrate from harsh winters to the tropics for warmth and food.
Over 800 species of birds are located in this country. Birds that can be spotted are the scarlet Macaos, parrots, slaty-tailed trogon, humming birds, fly-catcher and others. Among the water birds are the willet, the southern lapwing and a variety of other birds.
If you are a bird watcher enthusiast, you will need to visit the country several times to be able to see most of the birds.
This is bird watchers paradise!

The country has four separate cordilleras. In the north you have Guanacaste and Tilaran; the Central cordillera and volcanonewTalamanca in the south.
There are several active volcanoes in Costa Rica. Among them are the Arenal, Poas, (beautiful La Paz waterfall is located near this volcano), Ricón de la Vieja and Irazú. Costa Rica’s highest point is Mt. Chirripo with an elevation of 3,797 meters. Earth tremors and small quakes shake the country from time to time.

National Parks
Puerto Viejo. Puerto Viejo is located in the Limon province. It is paradise to beach lovers. Puerto Viejo is famous for its exotic flora and fauna. The town is surrounded by the seashore and it is becoming one of CostaRica’s hot spot. Sit around, relax and enjoy its gold sand beaches, tropical vegetation and many other attractions.
Nearby is the Cahuita National Park, Talamanca Indian Reserve, Gandoca, and Manzanillo wild life Refuge.

The town is packed with young Americans and Europeans. Some have settled and established businesses such as restaurants and hotels. Many surfers from over the world come to Puerto Viejo to get a ride on the famed Salsa Brava waves.

Accommodations and hotels are reasonably priced. You can stop at a variety of stands where you can purchase typical objects and more. This area has a blend of Latino, Afro-Caribbean and Bribri indigenous cultures.

Puerto Viejo is a lively place to have a fun-relaxing vacation. Come Visit With Us!

Tortuguero is located on the northeast coast of Costa Rica. It was established in 1970. It is home to a diversity of flora and fauna. This region is the wettest area in all of Costa Rica.

tortugueronewThe climate is warm and humid blended with cool breezy nights to form the perfect environment.

The sight of birds, monkeys and other animals will catch your eyes. More than 400 species lives in this area.

You will experience a wonderful view of the virgin forest, take fun hikes through trails and discover the rich fauna and flora of the rain forest, the region offers. A well experienced guide will explain each animal that will be encountered on the way. This region is important since four types of sea turtles visit the area beaches each year for nesting. The locals offers night tour adventure on the beach in search of nesting turtles.

There is a variety of lodging for tourists and the meals are delicious. Turtle nesting is in its peak from July – September

Contact us for more information!

Cahuita was also declared a national park in 1970. It is the first touristic location due south after leaving Puerto Limon.

This area is made up of different type of forest and swamps. The sandy white beach is surroline-height: unded by a lush rain forest. You can find a variety of fish life such as parrot fish and barracudas in its’ mature-formed reef. Turtles make their nesting site here also. Scuba and snorkling are at their best from April through October (dry season). Sailing and fishing is a must. In these beautiful waters you can fish snooks, tarpons and groupers. Walk across the shore and you will see that it is lined with coconut trees or if you prefer to go on the trails you will see various species of monkeys frolicking in the tree tops. Here you will find quaint hotels and a variety of cabinas and restaurants that offers parties and lots of fun. Visit Cahuita if you want to lay back relax and enjoy life!

Contact us to book a Tour to this tropical paradise!

Port Limon
It’s Origin Christopher Columbus landed in Port Limon in 1502 on is fourth trip. Port Limon was declared Province on August 6th 1902. It is one of the seven provinces and is the principal port of Costa Rica.

paradenewLimon has become a tourist city and a stop-over when going to Cahuita National Park, Tortuguero, Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo.

80% of the banana plantations are located in Limon province. This has made the region an important economical venue and the first largest banana producer in this country. Costa Rica has a territorial extension of 51.100 km2 including island. The population is 4.000.000.

The capital is San Jose. The distance from San Jose to Port Limon is 100 miles. There are three ways to reach to Port Limon. Via:

Via Braulio Carrillo highway
By sea via cruise ships
By airplane from San Jose
From San Jose through the Turrialba route along the old highway

Structure The harbor is surrounded by a sea-wall which is frequented by both locals and tourists. The park is filled with tropical shrubs, tall palms, and an old kiosk that houses the statue of Cristobal Colon. This is a peaceful oasis, a place where one can relax and enjoy the colorful birds, the Caribbean Sea, and in some occasions, a sloth high up in the treetops.

Limon’s population is about 125,000 people. Spanish is the Official language. Forty percent of the inhabitants speak English. The extension of the city is approximately 1,765.km2.

Limon downtown central market is an experience in itself. You can enjoy a cool tropical fruit drink when thirst kicks in, or, as you walk through, shop at the many kiosks from clothing to souvenirs.park-hotel-new

Other noteworthy structures are: the Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, the Patrimonial Buildings, Port Limon City hall, the Park Hotel, and the Patrimonial Missionary House.

Culture Limon’s culture is diverse and it is largely made up of Jamaican descendants. Also included into the population are: the Bribri and Cabécar Indians, Asias, Italians and others.

The cultural manifestation is varied and is highlighted every year on the 31st of August. Quadrille dance is part of the colonial heritage and is the typical dance.

In addition to food, there is a variety of cultural activities and traditions that is much different from that of the other regions in the country. The music varies from calypso to reggae.

Limon old quarter near the pier is a result of the banana-production industry. The public and commercial buildings display a Victorian influence.

In essence, the local architecture is a result of the society’s lifestyle and its forms and spaces is a result of the climatic, cultural, technological and economic conditions.

English was taught with a rich Caribbean content long before public schools were established.

Attraction To experience the Caribbean spirit of Limon, plan to visit in early September. During this month we celebrate Caribbean light parade. Every 25th of September we celebrate the arrival of Christopher Columbus. This is a grand parade festivity.

In October we celebrate the colorful annual carnival parade. You will experience circus street parades, dancing and all night partying.

This festivity last for four days. During this time you can take the opportunity to get a taste of the culinary delights. Among these are the “rundown,” “rice and beans,” and the famous “sugar head punch,” a refreshment prepared with lemon juice, molasses, ginger and other secret ingredients.

Visit a Banana Plantation and Packing House. Here they explain how they crop, harvest, process, package and export the fruit. This is a truly educational experience.