Costa Rica Information

Located between Nicaragua and Panama in Central America, Costa Rica (meaning “Rich Coast”) is a country with a population of just over 4.75 million. Costa Rica is the most visited Central American country because of its breathtaking beauty, friendly citizens, and reputation as a safe and family-friendly destination — for these reasons and more, it’s a great place for first-time international travelers to visit.

Costa Rica is also very well known as a nation at the forefront of environmental protection and sustainable policies, and its unforgettable natural beauty as a result. The west side of Costa Rica borders the Pacific Ocean, and the east borders the Caribbean Sea. While Spanish is the official language, many Costa Ricans also speak English, therefore it is generally easy for English speakers to get around. The official currency is the Costa Rican Colón (CRC).

Bodhi Surf + Yoga is proud to call this country home, and excited to share our little corner of it with our guests in an intimate and exciting way.

Ten interesting facts about Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a beautiful Central American country located between Nicaragua and Panama, and the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. It is a must-visit destination for those who love tropical beaches and viridescent scenery. Check out 10 interesting facts about the country.

Ranked #1 in the Happy Planet Index

Costa Rica has ranked #1 in the Happy Planet Index multiple times, which reflects a high life expectancy, high levels of experienced well-being, and a moderate ecological footprint

Intense biodiversity

It has the greatest species density in the world, you can expect to see incredible diversity in the country’s flora and fauna

Rainy and dry seasons

Costa Rica’s rainy season, also known as “winter”, spans from June to November; the “summer” is from December to May


Costa Rica has 800 miles of gorgeous coastline touching both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean

Active volcanoes

There are seven active volcanoes in Costa Rica

Areas of conservation

The country also has a staggering 25% of its territory under some form of protection this includes 11 areas of conservation, 27 national parks, and a variety of other reserves, monuments, or protected areas

Tourism industry

Tourism is one of Costa Rica’s main sources of revenue

Costa Rica's population

Nearly half of Costa Rica’s population (4.86 million) lives in the capital, San Jose


Many Costa Ricans (or “Ticos”, as they call themselves) are fluent in two or more languages

Outdoor activities

Costa Rica is great for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, zip-lining, surfing, snorkeling/scuba diving, sailing, and taking boat tours


Costa Rican History

Prior to the the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1502, the country that is now known as Costa Rica was inhabited with different indigenous groups, though there is debate about the population number as few survived contact with European settlers. For the next 300 years, Spain administered the region as part of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, under a military government. The Spanish optimistically called the country “Rich Coast.” Finding little gold or other valuable minerals in Costa Rica; however, they turned to agriculture. Many factors, including Costa Rica’s isolation from the Spanish colonial centers in Mexico and the Andes, contributed to the development of a relatively autonomous, individualistic, and egalitarian agrarian society.

Costa Rica joined other Central American provinces in 1821 in a joint declaration of independence from Spain. In 1838, long after the Central American Federation ceased to function, Costa Rica formally withdrew and proclaimed itself a sovereign nation. An era of peaceful democracy in Costa Rica began in 1899, and continues today with only two lapses: 1917-1919, when Federico Tinoco ruled as a dictator; and 1948, when Jose Figueres led an armed uprising in the wake of a disputed presidential election. The victory from this 44-day civil war led to a constitution guaranteeing free elections with universal suffrage and the abolition of the military. The absence of a military continues to be a source of great national pride, and Costa Rica has conducted international public relations campaigns to encourage other nations to follow suit for the purpose of global peace.

The Costa Rican government has been very involved in managing the economy since the 1948 revolution. The government operates many state monopolies, including banking, insurance, and telecommunications. They control the prices of a number of goods and services; and maintain protectionist trade laws. Government policy in the 1960s and 1970s focused on making Costa Rica more self-sufficient, and the nation has enjoyed a gradual upward economic trend. However, with the increase in oil prices in the 1970s and the sharp decreases in international coffee, banana, and sugar prices, Costa Rica’s economy collapsed in 1980. Warfare in neighboring countries in the 1980s also affected the Costa Rican economy and society, shattering regional trade and bringing a large number of refugees and illegal aliens, particularly from Nicaragua, to the country. To quell the regional violence, President Oscar Arias Sánchez (1986-1990) promoted a successful regional peace plan that resulted in his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987. Since 1948, Costa Rica has held 16 successive democratic presidential elections, more than any other Latin American country, and is known as the region’s most stable nation-state.

Indigenous People

There are around 110,000 indigenous people in Costa Rica today, or around 2.4% percent of the total population. Even prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the early 1500s, the indigenous population in Costa Rica was small, and they lived in separate rather than larger groups. Like in the rest of the Americas, population decreased significantly after the arrival of Europeans due to contact with new germs. In 1977, the Indigenous Law was established in Costa Rica to try to stop the indigenous peoples’ loss of land, and ensure their survival and wellbeing.

Compared to other Latin American countries such as Guatemala, Panama, or Peru, Costa Rica is not particularly known for its indigenous population — probably due to the fact that they are a smaller group and are therefore less visible. There are 22 reserves located in Costa Rica, and they are divided into 8 ethnic groups, Bodhi Surf + Yoga is located nearest to the Boruca and Terraba reserves:

  1. Chorotega
  2. Maleku
  3. Bribri
  4. Cabécar
  5. Guaymí
  6. Boruca
  7. Térraba
  8. Huetar

There aren’t too many artifacts that remain from the pre-Hispanic era in Costa Rica, some pottery and simple ornaments are what have endured. However, one of the most notable cultural sites exists in our corner of Costa Rica, the South Pacific Zone. They are the legendary stone spheres of Costa Rica, which are made from gabbro, limestone, and sandstone, and range in size from from a few centimeters in diameter to over two meters. There are many myths and theories as to how and why these spheres were made, how they were transported, and why. These spheres have fascinated locals, visitors, and researchers alike for years, and in 2014, were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located a 45-minute drive from Bodhi Surf + Yoga is the National Museum of Costa Rica’s exhibition at Finca 6 in Palmar Sur.

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Protected areas in Costa Rica

In the early 1970s, faced with a decline in natural resources and the shrinking of the natural habitat, Costa Rica began making systematic changes to protect what was left and rebuild what had already been lost. The result of these continued efforts is that Costa Rica has a number of protected areas: over 25% of the country’s territory falls under government protection, be it a national park, protected area, refuge, monument, or reserve; two of its parks have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. In fact, Costa Rica has a larger proportion of protected areas than any other country in the world, and this is one of the major reasons that it is such a popular tourism destination.

Most of these protected areas are easily accessed by the public, a major draw for tourism both on a national and international level. Bodhi is privileged to be located near several of these areas of conservation:

Travel information

Costa Rica is a popular tourist destination not only because of its stunning beauty, but because it is easily accessible and very safe for travelers. Costa Ricans are of the warmest and most welcoming around; they will go out of their way to make you at home in their country. Costa Rica’s weather makes it a prime tourist destination, especially for those coming from cooler climates. Being so close to the equator, their seasons are a bit different from those in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Keep in mind, Costa Rica is a tropical country so neither their rainy nor dry season would be considered “winter” by the standards of most Canadians, Americans, or Europeans.

Popular activities in Costa Rica

Year after year, Costa Rica is a top destination for vacationers of all types who are looking for a beautiful, accessible, clean, and safe country to visit. These characteristics make Costa Rica an easy choice for families, honeymooners, student groups, and many other types of travelers. For whatever your proclivity, Costa Rica has an activity for you.

Costa Rica is one of the top destinations in the world for people who love the great outdoors and want to spend their time doing activities that allow them to get up close and personal with Mother Nature in all her glory. That might mean hiking through the luscious jungle, hurtling down a river rapids with just a raft keeping you afloat, zipping over a viridescent canopy, or just lazing on a palm lined beach. Costa Rica is a diverse country, so here are some of the top activities you can do in the Southern Pacific Zone, Bodhi Surf + Yoga’s neck of the woods:

  • Surfing
  • Yoga
  • Hiking and visiting waterfalls
  • Local cultural tours
  • Whale watching or snorkeling boat tours
  • Mangrove or horseback tours
  • Kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding
  • Zip lining or canyoning
  • White water rafting
  • Bird watching


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