About Costa Rica
The Republic of Costa Rica is one of the oldest democracies in America. It is a country proud of its heritage and tradition of negotiation on confrontation, social development on military spending and tolerance on hostility. The country is home to many international organizations such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the University for Peace of the United Nations and the Council of the Earth.
In 1502, on his fourth and final voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus was the first European to touch our territory. However, the colonization of Costa Rica began in 1522. The Spaniards were optimistic to call the country “Costa Rica” because they expected to find gold and other valuable minerals. However, when they did not find them, they had to dedicate themselves to agriculture.
For almost three centuries, Spain administered the region as part of the General Captaincy of Guatemala through a military governor. The relative poverty of the small landowners, the lack of indigenous labor, the ethnic and linguistic homogeneity of the population and the isolation of Costa Rica from the Spanish colonial centers in Mexico and the Andes, contributed to the development of an autonomous agrarian society. individualist and the emergence of a tradition of equity. In 1821, Costa Rica joined the other Central American provinces in a joint declaration of independence from Spain.
Costa Rica abolished its military forces in 1949 and has since devoted significant resources to investment in health and education. Its population of 4.4 million people enjoys a literacy rate of 96% and a life expectancy of 79.3.
The Government of Costa Rica is governed through a series of constitutional controls. The executive responsibilities fall on the President, supported by two Vice-presidents. Likewise, Costa Rica has a Legislative Power constituted by a cabinet of 57 congressmen, all elected every 4 years. The third power of the Republic is constituted by the Judicial Power. The country has a very solid legal system justly protected by the Judiciary, which ensures compliance with the law and protects both national and foreign citizens within the territory.
The survey conducted by the World Bank for Global Governance Indicators 2008, ranked Costa Rica in first place in Latin America for its political stability.
Costa Rica has been blessed with an impressive scenic beauty. Located in Central America in an area that covers only 51,100 kilometers (19,729 square miles), Costa Rica has approximately 6% of the world’s biodiversity. The small size of Costa Rica allows access to a variety of fabulous sites in a short time. A trip to Costa Rica offers the opportunity to visit 12 different life zones, 20 national parks, 26 protected areas, nine forest reserves, eight biological reserves and seven wildlife sanctuaries. Costa Rica is the birthplace of ecotourism. The country is often cited as a model for conservation in harmony with community development and economic growth.
Currently, Costa Rica is one of the only developing countries that has adopted a tax on hydrocarbons that partially finances the only existing national payment system for environmental services, which makes the country the largest buyer of carbon from forests in the region. the world. Likewise, Costa Rica has set itself the goal of becoming a carbon neutral country in the year 2021.
It is not surprising that tourism is the main source of income and currency of Costa Rica. Costa Rica receives more than 1.7 million tourists a year, most of whom come from the United States and Canada. Tourism revenues total more than 1.7 billion dollars a year. It is estimated that up to 80% of all visitors to the country come to do ecological tourism or related activities.
One of the pillars of economic development in Costa Rica has been trade liberalization, which has allowed exports to exceed the 30% share of GDP in 1980, at a current rate of 50%. Following this commercial release there have been a series of structural changes that have led to growth in productivity, diversification of the economy and a higher level of investment. Today, Costa Rica exports thousands of products to the world and is highly recognized as one of the top 30 exporters of high technology products. Foreign investors continue to be attracted by the country’s political stability and high levels of education.
All these changes have led to important social achievements. In the last 20 years, poverty has been reduced from 40% to less than 20%.
In 2009, Costa Rica was considered the country with the highest happiness index (Happy Planet Index).