About Costa Rica

This nation of 3.8 million people has long been popular with Spanish students, thanks to its outstanding natural beauty and political stability. The friendliness of the Costa Rican people and the clarity of their accent make this lovely country a particularly good choice to explore a Spanish-speaking society.

Politically, Costa Rica is one of the most stable nations in Latin America. Since dismantling its army in 1948, Costa Rica has turned its resources toward developing a peaceful and healthy society. Known as the "Switzerland of Latin America," Costa Rica continues to invest in democratic institutions and lead peace initiatives. It boasts one of the highest literacy rates in Latin America, and its people enjoy greater life expectancy and health care than those in neighboring nations.

Geographically, Costa Rica is slightly smaller than the state of West Virginia. Costa Rica supports nearly 5% of the species known to the world and has converted nearly one-quarter of its land to protected conservation areas. Within the thirteen national parks and six biological reserves, you can encounter a staggering array of plants and animals, including monkeys, sloths, armadillos, jaguars, and tapirs, vast numbers of amphibians and reptiles, and more than 800 different species of butterflies. Costa Rica is the ideal spot for students interested in outdoor adventure or conservation.

The country’s extraordinary emphasis on the value of education means that it has some of the best teachers available in Latin America. The high standard of living brings you safe drinking water, and reliable and easily accessible communication. The people are friendly and outgoing; making friends is a pleasure in Costa Rica. It’s a beautiful country with an amazing natural variety. You can spend weekends lounging on beautiful beaches or in tropical lodges open to the sounds of the jungle. Or you can try something more active like hiking through cloud forests, rafting wild rivers or mountain biking through lush mountains. Or you may want to see an active volcano shooting lava into the night.

It’s a safe country in which to travel. Costa Rica has a long history of nonviolence and human rights. Since abolishing and without a military budget, the country’s financial resources are spent on education and conservation of its extraordinary natural resources.

Most of all, it’s the warmth and gentleness of the people which appeals to travelers and students. The local people are called ticos, and the national slogan is Pura Vida. That says it all, as the closest equivalent is “This is the life!”