We spent our first week cruising down and
back up the west coast of Costa Rica to Panama
on the Star Flyer clipper ship, enjoying
many land visits en route.
The next two weeks were for exploration of
the volcanos and various types of forest
- rainforest, cloud forest and dry forest,
both primary and secondary. We visited Poas,
Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde and Manuel
Antonio. See our full itineraryClick on any photo in the galleries to see
a larger image and slideshowCosta Rica
The Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is shaped
like a giant crab with two great claws and
contains a natural paradise. It has seven
provinces. Besides the human population,
it is home to 9,000 higher plant species,
nearly 900 bird species, hundreds of frogs
and reptiles and 10 percent of all mammals
From the stunning volcanic peaks of Nicaragua
down to the rustic scenery of Panama, Costa’s
breathtaking beauty allows you to look in
any direction and watch nature perform around
you. Howler monkeys roam freely through the
jungle canopy above while manta rays weightlessly
glide through the waters below and the White-faced
Capuchin monkeys are at your feet ready to
grab your bag.
“Pura vida” is not just a tourism
slogan. It’s a way of expressing just
how good you are – and how well your
spirit and your community and your life are
in general. Literally meaning “pure
life,” Costa Ricans use the phrase
as a way of saying “hello,” good
morning or even answering the question “how
The population is 4.5m with 2.7% unemployment.
There is a German and Belgian influence as
well as Spanish. 80% of the population is
Catholic. They produce 60% of used products.
It’s one of the few countries with
no army – it was disbanded in 1948.
1.5m have internet at home with 2.7m using
Facebook. ICE is the national telcom provider.
Costa Rica has 61 National Parks and 112
volcanoes of which 5 are active. There are
about 300 earthquakes a day which are not
felt, ie 0.1 on the Richter scale.History
In a region that has been plagued by long
and turbulent civil wars, the peaceful and
reformist outcome of Costa Rica's Civil
War in 1948 differs greatly from its neighbours.
Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua
all suffered extremely long and painful dictatorships.
The Costa Rican revolution lasted for five
weeks with sporadic fighting in which the
National Liberation Army, led by Jose Maria
("Don Pepe") Figueres Ferrer, proved
victorious over the badly organized and poorly
directed Costa Rican army. In fact much of
the defence of the government was provided
by armed Communist party members. However,
the government was reluctant to give them
enough material support to be truly effective,
and on April 19, the illegitimate government
of Teodoro Picado decided to surrender to
The country's forty-day Civil War in
1948 resulted in an affirmation rather than
a negation of democracy. Democracy is not
only the type of government of Costa Rica,
but it also the source of tremendous pride
in a country that brags about having more
teachers than policeman and not having a
standing army since it was abolished in 1948.