If you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica with children, you need to have a lot of fun facts to present to your kids. The following facts about Costa Rica will make your children more excited and interested in your trip, and who knows, they might even have the answer to a random question of trivia in the future.
Costa Rica Information for kids:
- The name of Costa Rica translates into Rich Coast. It comes from the time of Christopher Columbus, who docked on his fourth and last trip to the Americas (in 1502) on the Atlantic coast of this country and wrote about the richness the indigenous people displayed. According to Columbus, the indigenous woman wore gold necklaces from their heads to their backs.
- Since 1896, the currency in Costa Rica is the “Colon” (colones in plural) named in honor of Christopher Columbus. Today, one US dollar is equivalent to around 570 colones. There are coins for as little as five colones and bills for as much as 50.000,00 colones.
- Costa Rica has a land territory of 19,700 square miles (51,100 sq. km). This means that Costa Rica is a little smaller than the state of West Virginia in the US, and a little bigger than the country of Denmark in Europe.
- The small country is divided into seven provinces: San José, Cartago, Alajuela, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas, and Guanacaste. The city of San José, located right in the middle of the country, is the capital.
- Costa Rica’s is mostly surrounded by two oceans: the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Atlantic Ocean (or Caribbean Sea) to the west. To the north, the country borders with Nicaragua, and to the south, it borders with Panama.
- Today there are a little over 4.5 million Ticos y Ticas, as Costa Ricans like to be called.
- Costa Ricans have a life expectancy of 80 years. That means that in average when Ticos and Ticas are born they could expect to live to be 80, meanwhile, in the US the life expectancy is 79 years.
- The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, but a big percentage of Costa Ricans speak very good English.
- The sport that Costa Ricans follow the most is men’s soccer. The last major achievement by Costa Rica’s Men Soccer National Team was getting to the quarter-finals at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when they lost against The Netherlands.
- Costa Rica is one of 22 countries out of the 195 countries in the world that do not have an army. It abolished its army with the 1949 constitution, after a small civil war.
- The first big export Costa Rica ever had was coffee in the mid-1800s. Today Eco-tourism is one of the main sources of income for the country. Almost three million travelers came to Costa Rica in 2016!
- The country’s constitution says Costa Rica is a Catholic country. Today, the majority of its population claims to be Christian. The patron saint of Costa Rica is the Virgin of the Angels, and every August 2nd there is a big pilgrimage to its church in Cartago.
- Costa Rica has many national symbols. The National bird is the Yigüirro, or the clay-colored thrush, chosen because it can be found almost anywhere in Costa Rica. The National Tree is the Guanacaste tree, which can be mostly found in the dry forest of Guanacaste, and it was named the national three to honor that piece of land that annexed to Costa Rica in 1824. The National Flower is an orchid called Guaria Morada (or purple Guaria), which is a common member of Costa Rican gardens.
- The Costa Rican land emerged from the bottom of the ocean due mostly to volcanic eruptions. Today there are more than 100 mountains that are known to have been volcanos. Nine of those mountains are still clear craters. Seven of those are still active volcanos. Those nine volcanos are (south to north) Turrialba, Irazú, Barva, Poás, Arenal, Tenorio, Miravalles, Rincón de la Vieja, Orosí.
- In Costa Rica, there are only two seasons: dry and rainy season. The dry season goes from mid-December to mid-April, the rest of the year it’s rainy!
- More than 25% of the entire Costa Rican territory is under some kind of protection, like national parks of wildlife refuges. Costa Rica has all kinds of ecosystems, like the dry forest, rainforest, cloud forest, deciduous forest, mangrove, and coastline.
- In Costa Rica, one can find close to 900 species of birds, 52 of those are hummingbirds. There are more than 230 species of mammals, of which 105 are bats. There are over 12,000 plants species of plants and counting, including at least 1,500 orchids! Lastly, there more than 34,000 species of insects, with 1250 butterflies.
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John Rabenau has been working in the eco-tourism & adventure travel industry in Costa Rica since 2002. He has worked in a variety of capacities from Outdoor Educator & Principle Guide to Itinerary Design Manager & Business Owner for numerous organizations. He has grown Costa Rica Escapes into one of the most reputable Costa Rica travel agencies since its creation in 2006, hosting more than 5,000 people with custom vacation itineraries.