Jim's Work Trip To
Costa Rica

 The animal that looks like a cartoon
is called a tapir. I hope you can make a
website out of these pictures. Love, Jim.



Flag Description:
five horizontal bands of blue (top), white, red (double width), white, and blue, with the coat of arms in a white elliptical disk on the hoist side of the red band; above the coat of arms a light blue ribbon contains the words, AMERICA CENTRAL, and just below it near the top of the coat of arms is a white ribbon with the words, REPUBLICA COSTA RICA


Noble patria tu hermosa bandera
Expresión de tu vida nos da:
Bajo el límpido azul de tu cielo
Blanca y pura descansa la paz.
En la lucha tenaz de fecunda labor
Que enrojece del hombre la faz,
Conquistaron tus hijos, labriegos sencillos,
Eterno prestigio, estima y honor,
eterno prestigio, estima y honor.
¡Salve oh tierra gentil!
¡Salve oh madre de amor!
Cuando alguno pretenda tu gloria manchar,
Verás a tu pueblo, valiente y viril
La tosca herramienta en arma trocar.
¡Salve patria! tu pródigo suelo
Dulce abrigo y sustento nos da;
Bajo el límpido azul de tu cielo
¡Vivan siempre el trabajo y la paz!


Noble homeland, your beautiful flag
Express for us your life:
Under the limpid blue of your skies,
Peace reigns, white and pure.
In the tenacious battle of fruitful toil,
That brings a glow to men's faces,
Your sons, simple farm hands,
Gained eternal renown, esteem and honour,
Gained eternal renown, esteem and honour.
Hail, gentle country!
Hail, loving mother!
If anyone should attempt to besmirch your glory,
You will see your people, valiant and virile,
Exchange their rustic tools for weapons.
Hail, O homeland! Your prodigal soil
Gives us sweet sustenance and shelter.
Under the limpid blue of your sky,
May peaceful labour ever continue.



Hi Everyone, In Costa Rica we spent most of the two weeks in the hotel, but luckily this weekend I went to  http://www.rara-avis.com/ 

We took  1 and a half hour bus ride from San Jose to a town called Hoquetas.

Hoquetas is very similar in look and feel to my town in Escobal, Panama.  In the town, existed a little business called Rara Avis.  The trip was like a chapter out of a book.  I expected foreign tourists and much to my surprise the 10 other people traveling with us to the eco lodge were national tourists.  One young couple won a prize for a nights stay playing bingo.  Another young couple were celebrating the girlfriend's birthday and 5 brothers were using the trip to visit a nearby farm their father left them when he passed away. 


You pay the money in cash at the little business center and a cart pulled by a tractor pulled us to the lodge, about 3 hours from the town. 

Along the way we got a flat tire. 

Most waited but we trekked the rest of the way through trails on foot.  It was amazing to stay in this cloud forest. 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner were provided and my bungalow included a balcony with a hammock overlooking the forest and my own bathroom. 

Great accommodations, considering we were in the middle of the forest.  

I had some great conversations in Spanish ...

and we did some trials through the forest the next day. 

Not to mention, there were 2 swimming holes below 2 waterfalls near the hotel.  Well, this was a little rushed, but I hope you enjoy the pictures. -James


A part of Middle America, Costa Rica borders the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific, between Nicaragua and Panama.

Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a Central American success story: since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred its democratic development. Although still a largely agricultural country, it has expanded its economy to include strong technology and tourism sectors. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread.

Geography Costa Rica
Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama
Geographic coordinates:
10 00 N, 84 00 W

Map references:

Central America and the Caribbean
total: 51,100 sq km
land: 50,660 sq km
water: 440 sq km
note: includes Isla del Coco

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than West Virginia

Land boundaries:
total: 639 km
border countries: Nicaragua 309 km, Panama 330 km

1,290 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm

tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands

coastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major volcanoes

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Chirripo 3,810 m

Natural resources:
Land use:
arable land: 4.41%
permanent crops: 5.88%
other: 89.71% (2001)

Irrigated land:
1,260 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:
occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season and landslides; active volcanoes

Environment - current issues:
deforestation and land use change, largely a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching and agriculture; soil erosion; coastal marine pollution; fisheries protection; solid waste management; air pollution

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note:
four volcanoes, two of them active, rise near the capital of San Jose in the center of the country; one of the volcanoes, Irazu, erupted destructively in 1963-65

People Costa Rica

Costa Ricans are a fairly mixed bunch. Though the majority of the country's approximately four million inhabitants are the descendants of Spanish immigrants, many families originated in other parts of Europe, Asia, Africa and, of course, Central America. In the lowlands, more people are “mestizo” -- possessing a mixture of European and Indigenous blood -- whereas the majority of inhabitants along the Caribbean coast are of African lineage, and full-blooded Indians of various tribes inhabit much of the Talamanca Mountain Range.

Costa Ricans are commonly known Ticos, because they often use the diminutive form of words to be more courteous or friendly. However, they tend to use “-ico” instead the more common “-ito.” Although “-ico” is a correct form of the diminutive, it is rarely used in other Spanish-speaking countries. Hence, people from other countries started calling Costa Ricans “Ticos.”

4,016,173 (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 28.9% (male 593,540/female 566,361)
15-64 years: 65.5% (male 1,330,481/female 1,300,664)
65 years and over: 5.6% (male 104,564/female 120,563) (2005 est.)

Median age:
total: 26.03 years
male: 25.59 years
female: 26.5 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:
1.48% (2005 est.)

Birth rate:
18.6 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Death rate:
4.33 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Net migration rate:

0.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 9.95 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.85 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.84 years
male: 74.26 years
female: 79.55 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.28 children born/woman (2005 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.6% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
12,000 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
900 (2003 est.)

noun: Costa Rican(s)
adjective: Costa Rican

Ethnic groups:
white (including mestizo) 94%, black 3%, Amerindian 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1%

Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%
Spanish (official), English
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96%
male: 95.9%
female: 96.1% (2003 est.)

Government Costa Rica

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Costa Rica
conventional short form: Costa Rica
local long form: Republica de Costa Rica
local short form: Costa Rica

Government type:
democratic republic

San Jose

Administrative divisions:

7 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, San Jose


15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

7 November 1949

Legal system:
based on Spanish civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Abel PACHECO (since 8 May 2002); First Vice President Lineth SABORIO (since 8 May 2002); Second Vice President Luis FISHMAN (since 8 May 2002); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government: President Abel PACHECO (since 8 May 2002); First Vice President Lineth SABORIO (since 8 May 2002); Second Vice President Luis FISHMAN (since 8 May 2002); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president
elections: president and vice presidents elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 3 February 2002; run-off election held 7 April 2002 (next to be held February 2006)

election results: Abel PACHECO elected president; percent of vote - Abel PACHECO (PUSC) 58%; Rolando ARAYA (PLN) 42%

Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (57 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held 3 February 2002 (next to be held 3 February 2006)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PUSC 19, PLN 17, PAC 14, PML 6, PRC 1; note - seats by party as of January 2005 - PUSC 19, PLN 16, PAC 8, PML 5, PRC 1, Patriotic Union 3, Homeland First 1, Authentic Member from Heredia 1, Democratic National Alliance 1, independent 2

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (22 justices are elected for eight-year terms by the Legislative Assembly)

Political parties and leaders:
Authentic Member from Heredia [Jose SALAS]; Citizen Action Party or PAC [Otton SOLIS]; Costa Rican Renovation Party or PRC [Justo OROZCO]; Democratic Force Party or PFD [Juan Carlos CHAVES Mora]; Democratic National Alliance [Emilia RODRIGUEZ]; General Union Party or PUGEN [Carlos Alberto FERNANDEZ Vega]; Homeland First [Juan Jose VARGAS]; Independent Worker Party or PIO [Jose Alberto CUBERO Carmona]; Libertarian Movement Party or PML [Otto GUEVARA Guth]; National Christian Alliance Party or ANC [Victor GONZALEZ]; National Integration Party or PIN [Walter MUNOZ Cespedes]; National Liberation Party or PLN [Francisco Antonio PACHECO]; National Patriotic Party or PPN [Daniel Enrique REYNOLDS Vargas]; National Rescue Party or PRN [Carlos VARGAS Solano]; Patriotic Union [Humberto ARCE]; Popular Vanguard [Trino BARRANTES Araya]; Social Christian Unity Party or PUSC [Lorena VASQUEZ Badilla]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Authentic Confederation of Democratic Workers or CATD (Communist Party affiliate); Chamber of Coffee Growers; Confederated Union of Workers or CUT (Communist Party affiliate); Costa Rican Confederation of Democratic Workers or CCTD (Liberation Party affiliate); Federation of Public Service Workers or FTSP; National Association for Economic Development or ANFE; National Association of Educators or ANDE; Rerum Novarum or CTRN (PLN affiliate) [Gilbert Brown]

International organization participation:

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Tomas DUENAS
chancery: 2114 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 234-2945
FAX: [1] (202) 265-4795
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Durham (North Carolina), Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Francisco, St. Paul, and Tampa
consulate(s): Austin

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Douglas M. BARNES
embassy: Calle 120 Avenida O, Pavas, San Jose
mailing address: APO AA 34020
telephone: [506] 220-3939
FAX: [506] 519-2305

Flag description:

five horizontal bands of blue (top), white, red (double width), white, and blue, with the coat of arms in a white elliptical disk on the hoist side of the red band; above the coat of arms a light blue ribbon contains the words, AMERICA CENTRAL, and just below it near the top of the coat of arms is a white ribbon with the words, REPUBLICA COSTA RICA

Economy Costa Rica

Economy - overview:
Costa Rica's basically stable economy depends on tourism, agriculture, and electronics exports. Poverty has been substantially reduced over the past 15 years, and a strong social safety net has been put into place. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and high education levels, and tourism continues to bring in foreign exchange. Low prices for coffee and bananas have hurt the agricultural sector. The government continues to grapple with its large deficit and massive internal debt. The reduction of inflation remains a difficult problem because of rises in the price of imports, labor market rigidities, and fiscal deficits. The country also needs to reform its tax system and its pattern of public expenditure. Costa Rica recently concluded negotiations to participate in the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement, which, if ratified by the Costa Rican Legislature, would result in economic reforms and an improved investment climate.

purchasing power parity - $37.97 billion (2004 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
3.9% (2004 est.)

GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $9,600 (2004 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 8.5%
industry: 29.7%
services: 61.8% (2004 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
19.2% of GDP (2004 est.)

Population below poverty line:

18% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 36.8% (2002)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
45.9 (1997)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
11.5% (2004 est.)

Labor force:
1.81 million (2004 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 20%, industry 22%, services 58% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate:
6.6% (2004 est.)

revenues: $2.497 billion
expenditures: $3.094 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)

Public debt:
58% of GDP (2004 est.)

Agriculture - products:

coffee, pineapples, bananas, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes; beef; timber


microprocessors, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products

Industrial production growth rate:
3.1% (2004 est.)

Electricity - production:
6.614 billion kWh (2002)

Electricity - consumption:
5.733 billion kWh (2002)

Electricity - exports:
477 million kWh (2002)

Electricity - imports:
59 million kWh (2002)

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)

Oil - consumption:
37,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)

Oil - exports:

Oil - imports:

Current account balance:
$-980.3 million (2004 est.)

$6.184 billion (2004 est.)

Exports - commodities:
coffee, bananas, sugar; pineapples; textiles, electronic components, medical equipment

Exports - partners:
US 14.2%, Guatemala 3%, Nicaragua 2.7% (2003)

$7.842 billion (2004 est.)

Imports - commodities:
raw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum

Imports - partners:
US 23.2%, Mexico 4.7%, Venezuela 3.2% (2003)

Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:

$1.736 billion (2004 est.)

Debt - external:
$5.962 billion (2004 est.)

Costa Rican colon (CRC)

Currency code:

Exchange rates:
Costa Rican colones per US dollar - 439.485 (2004), 398.663 (2003), 359.817 (2002), 328.871 (2001), 308.187 (2000)

Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Costa Rica

Telephones - main lines in use:

1.132 million (2002)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
528,047 (2002)

Telephone system:
general assessment: good domestic telephone service in terms of breadth of coverage; restricted cellular telephone service

domestic: point-to-point and point-to-multi-point microwave, fiber-optic, and coaxial cable link rural areas; Internet service is available

international: country code - 506; connected to Central American Microwave System; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); two submarine cables (1999)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 65, FM 51, shortwave 19 (2002)

Television broadcast stations:
20 (plus 43 repeaters) (2002)

Internet country code:

Internet hosts:
10,826 (2003)

Internet users:
800,000 (2002)

Transportation Costa Rica

total: 950 km

narrow gauge: 950 km 1.067-m gauge (260 km electrified) (2003)

total: 35,303 km
paved: 4,236 km
unpaved: 31,067 km (2002)


730 km (seasonally navigable by small craft) (2004)

refined products 242 km (2004)

Ports and harbors:
Caldera, Golfito, Moin, Puerto Limon, Puerto Quepos, Puntarenas

Merchant marine:
total: 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,716 GRT/ DWT
by type: passenger/cargo 2 (2005)

149 (2004 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 30
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 18
under 914 m: 8 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 119
914 to 1,523 m: 24
under 914 m: 95 (2004 est.)

Military Costa Rica

Military branches:
no regular military forces; Ministry of Public Security, Government, and Police

Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2004)

Military manpower - availability:
males age 18-49: 997,690 (2005 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 829,874 (2005 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 41,097 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$64.2 million (2004)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.4% (2003)

Transnational Issues Costa Rica

Disputes - international:
legal dispute over navigational rights of Rio San Juan on the border with Nicaragua remains unresolved

Illicit drugs:
transshipment country for cocaine and heroin from South America; illicit production of cannabis on small, scattered plots; domestic cocaine consumption, particularly crack cocaine, is rising



COSTA RICA History & Culture


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