Costa Rica is one of the most popular adventure destinations in North America. From its natural beauty to its ancient artifacts, the lands and people of Costa Rica are as unique as its history. Read on to learn some fun facts about one of North America’s most valued tourist attractions:
* Though Costa Rica has its own currency (the Colon), most stores list prices in terms of U.S. dollars since there are so many U.S. tourists and access to U.S. dollars is easy. However, in order to exchange money, travelers must visit an official exchange, as illegal exchange of currency is forbidden. Head’s up: most banks close at 3p.m.
* Costa Rican travelers: be wary; Costa Rica is a stopping point along the well-known drug route through Central America. Though drugs and drug trafficking are illegal and punished quite severely, many tourists do get caught up in drug-money schemes, so tourists are warned upon arrival to guard their personal safety.
* There are about 52 species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica, making Costa Rica a true North American hummingbird capitol. The Costa Rican hummingbirds are most often found in the rain forest, as they pollinate flowers in the area where bees cannot travel.
* Monkeys are one of the most common mammals in Costa Rica – next to bats. There are about four common species of monkeys in Costa Rica, including the Howler money, Spider money, white-faced capuchin, and the squirrel monkey. Most monkeys live in groups of 10 to 40 with other animals.
* There are four kinds of toucans in Costa Rica, including the keel-billed toucan, chestnut-mandibled toucan, collared aracari, and the fiery-billed aracari. Toucans are found almost entirely in or around the rain forest. There are also over 332 species of parrots, but only about five live in Costa Rica, including the scarlet macaw, great green macaw, red-lored parrot, white-crowned parrot and the barred parakeet.
* Bug-phobists look out! There are about 750,000 species of insects that live in Costa Rica, including about 20,000 different types of spiders!
* Guaro is the local alcoholic liquor of choice. The beverage is inexpensive and is made from sugar cane. Costa Rica also produces a fine coffee liquor – straight from the coffee bean.
* Though Costa Rica is the second smallest Latin American country (it’s only about 30,100 square miles), it’s one of the most culturally and geographically exciting. The country borders the Caribbean and Pacific waters and has a broad mix of low lands and hilly volcanoes. As such hikers and water-lovers will be equally as impressed.
* Vaccinations are not mandatory. However, there are Red Cross stations in just about every town throughout the country, making vaccinations readily available. Many hikers get vaccinated before traveling to the country, as Typhoid and Hydrophobia are common.