Costa Rica Info

Costa Rica Info.

In 1963, Cabo Blanco Strict Nature Reserve became the first protected area in Costa Rica. The rest is history. Over the next four decades, this tiny country, roughly the size of  West Virginia, set aside more and more of its amazing habitat, until at present 25.4 percent of the total land area is protected.

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This amazingly diverse country supports twelve distinctive life zones, which in turn provide the habitat for a vast array of flora and fauna. Over 10,000 species of higher plants (four percent of the earth's total) are found here, as are over 200 species of mammals, 160 species of amphibians, over 200 species of reptiles, and over 1,000 species of
butterflies. Birdwatchers around the globe know that Costa Rica's 850 species of birds, represent more than in the entire North
American continent.

Through the National Parks and Forestry Services department, nearly three million acres has been set aside in 74 protected units throughout the country. Several dozen private preservation areas and protection zones encompass thousands of additional acres.

Costa Rica has long been a model of ecological conservation and an enlightened combination of tourism and protection.
Practically all elements of the country have been preserved, not only rainforests and swamps, but areas of historical and archaeological interest, from pre-Columbian settlements to colonial battlefields.

Little evidence remains of these early settlements however, as their populations were quickly and completely wiped out by the diseases of the invading Spanish. Because of this wholesale cultural disintegration, Costa Rica has a higher degree of Spanish influence than any other country in
Central America. The few remaining examples of pre-Columbian culture include the wonderful collection of jade at San Jose's Museo de Jade and the major architectural site at Guayabo.

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