Costa Rica

Red-eyed tree frogCosta Rica is a bastion of peace and beauty that is surprisingly close the United States.  Just a two and a half hour plane ride from Miami or Houston, Costa Rica can be reached in a few hours from many parts of the U.S.  Once here, many visitors are enamored by Costa Rica’s pristine natural wonders.  Prehistoric volcanoes contrast with the ever-changing biodiversity of the rainforest below.  Bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific to the west, Costa Rica’s beaches are world famous.  Geographically located to receive swells from both poles, Costa’s Rica’s Pacific coast has some of the most consistent surf on the planet.  As you might expect of such a tropical paradise, Costa Rica is home to some of the Earth’s more interesting creatures.  The giant leatherback sea turtle, humpback wales, sloths, salt water crocodiles, various species of monkeys and even giant ant eaters call Costa Rica Home.

Costa Ricans are a progressive people that have been recognized internationally for their forward thinking and ecologically sound policies.  Costa Rica is Central America’s longest standing democracy.  It abolished its army in 1949 and has directed the savings to health care and education.  Costa Rica ranks fifth in the world and first in the Americas on the U.N. 2012 Environmental Performance Index.  The Costa Rican government recently announced its intention to be the first nation to become carbon neutral by 2021.  Finally, the New Economics Foundation ranked Costa Rica first in its 2009 and 2012 Happy Planet Index, which purports to measure residents well being while taking into account sustainability and a nation’s ecological footprint.