Rica, with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to
the south, has a population of 4.5 million people
with Spanish as their official language. The capital
is San Jose. With education a priority, the literacy
rate is 96%. This country also enjoys one of the
oldest and most stable democracies in the world.
does not have an army, and Nobel Prize winning
Oscar Arias, the president of Costa Rica, continues
to work hard on the Central American Peace Plan
to bring lasting peace to neighboring countries.
tourism overtook the traditional industries of
coffee, banana, and orchid export in the 1990s,
Costa Rica has developed an excellent service
infrastructure of land and air transportation,
a vast hotel network, and extensive telecommunication
services. A network of highways crosses the country
and well-maintained roads link towns and villages
together - the most important of these being the
Rica is served by all major airlines, and a solid
fleet of commuter planes (charter and commercial)
make it easy to reach any point of the country
by air. The seaport of Limon and Moin on the Atlantic,
Puntarenes, Puerto Caldera on the Pacific, and
Golfito in the southern region, handle commercial
are no vaccinations necessary to visit Costa Rica
and the water is drinkable unlike in other countries
in the region.
Rica's currency - the Colon (¢500
= $1.00) is one of the most stable in the world.
Other facts about Costa Rica: inflation
rate: 5-10% per year; life expectancy: 78 years.
(CNN) Forget Disneyland! Costa Rica is the happiest place in the world, according to an independent research group in Britain with the goal of building a new economy, "centered on people and the environment."
Costa Rica is known for its lush rain forests and pristine beaches.
In a report released Saturday, the group ranks nations using the "Happy Planet Index," which seeks countries with the most content people.
In addition to happiness, the index by the New Economics Foundation considers the ecological footprint and life expectancy of countries. "Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world and have the second-highest average life expectancy of the new world (second to Canada)," the organization said in a statement. They "also have an ecological footprint that means that the country only narrowly fails to achieve the goal of ... consuming its fair share of the Earth's natural resources."
The Central American country, tucked between Nicaragua and Panama, touts its lush rain forests and pristine beaches. Its president, Oscar Arias Sanchez, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for trying to help end civil wars in several Central American countries. This year's survey, which looked at 143 countries, featured Latin American nations in nine of the Top 10 spots.