Fun Facts about Costa Rica

Costa Rica is Spanish for Rich Coast.  It was given this name by Christopher Columbus when he found the place in 1502. Chris expected the land to be filled with gold.  There was no gold, but the name stuck.

Costa Ricans refer to themselves as Ticos (men) and Ticas (women).

Ticos have the oldest democracy in Latin America.  And, in 1949, they abolished the army to use the money for education and public infrastructure.  This makes them the only country in the Western Hemisphere without an army.  The policy seems to have helped education, too.  Costa Rica has one of the highest literacy rates in the world.

There are more than 120 volcanoes in Costa Rica, but only nine of them are considered active.  The Poas Volcano has one of the widest craters in the world -- almost a mile in diameter.  And, Arenal Volcano is one of the ten most active in the world.  It's also known for its beautiful conical shape.

Many people come to Costa Rica to see the rainforest and the variety of mammals, reptiles, birds, and butterflies.  However, they probably don't realize that there are more than 34,000 (or 750,000 depending where you find your information) kinds of insects, including 20,000 kinds of spiders in Costa Rica.  Hopefully, a lot of them are eaten by the 52 kinds of humming birds there.

Traditional exports are bananas, pineapple, coffee, meat, and sugar.  The second largest industry in Costa Rica is Ecotourism. And, the largest industry is -- drum roll -- computer chips for Intel. One third of the world's computer processing chips comes from Costa Rica.

One out of every four glasses of orange juice poured in the United States comes from Costa Rica.