11 fun facts about Costa Rica, one of the happiest countries in the world

Do you know any fun facts about Costa Rica? It’s a country that’s known for its sprawling rainforests, cascading waterfalls and volcanoes, not to mention the howler monkeys and chattering toucans, but there are so many other things to discover. We’ve uncovered 11 fun facts about Costa Rica that will put the country at the top of your travel bucket list.

1. It’s one of the happiest countries in the world

According to the Happy Planet Index, in 2012 Costa Rica held the top position as the happiest country in the world. A lot of factors play into this ranking including the fact that the government invests funds that it would have spent on an army (which was abolished in 1949) into education, healthcare and pensions. It has since slipped from the top position, but it’s still a country filled with smiles and positivity.

2. There are over 500,000 species of wildlife

Costa Rica is the most biodiverse country in the world, with a whopping 500,000 species of wildlife — many of which are classified as rare or endangered. With Trafalgar, you can catch a glimpse of these animals in their natural habitats as we explore national parks and volcanic sights.

EXPERIENCE THIS ON: Costa Rica Eco Adventure with Guanacaste

3. Of the 500,000 species, 900 of them are birds

If birdwatching is a favourite pastime of yours, Costa Rica is a must-visit destination for its wide variety of birds. With Trafalgar, we’ll take you on a guided tour through Manuel Antonio National Park which is home to 184 different types.

EXPERIENCE THIS ON: Monkeys jungles and volcanoes

4. Gallo pinto is a breakfast staple

When in Costa Rica, trade your bacon and eggs for gallo pinto. The term translates to “spotted rooster” but what it actually refers to is a delicious dish made of rice and black beans that’s traditionally served with breakfast.

RELATED CONTENT: How to eat like a local in Costa Rica

5. There are over 200 volcanic formations

Costa Rica is part of the Pacific Ring Fire Circle and has over 200 volcanic formations traced back over 65 million years. Of these formations, there are around 100 of them that actually show any signs of activity and only five are classified as active.

With Trafalgar, we’ll take you to Arenal Volcano, which was still active up until 2010. You’ll have the opportunity to hike through recent lava flows on a guided tour or kayak on Arenal Lake to get a one-of-a-kind view of the sight.

EXPERIENCE THIS ON: Costa Rica Eco Adventure End San Jose

6. Costa Ricans have a high life expectancy

Costa Rica boasts an average life expectancy of 80 years, making us wonder if a relaxing, laidback lifestyle surrounded by nature might be the secret recipe to a longer life.

7. They have a sanctuary that protects millions of turtles

The Ostional Wildlife Refuge protects millions of turtles that nest there. It was established in 1984 to prevent turtle egg poaching and is the only place in the world where you can legally harvest turtle eggs.


If you love the creatures, visit Costa Rica with Trafalgar between July and September where you can see sea turtles lay eggs on the beach at Tortuguero National Park. 

EXPERIENCE THIS ON: Costa Rica Eco Adventure End Liberia

8. 25% of the land is conservation

With 12 ecological zones and over 100 national parks, reserves, refuges and protected lands, Costa Rica is a true display of mother nature’s beauty. The country is dedicated to protecting and preserving their eco-diversity and are on their way to becoming the first carbon neutral nation in the world.

9. The national anthem plays on the radio every morning

Did you know that the nation wakes up to the national anthem every morning? Most major radio stations play the anthem each morning at 7am.

RELATED CONTENT: 11 animals to look out for in Costa Rica

10. It’s nature’s playground

From surfing to white water rafting to zip-lining, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities for thrill-seekers. Costa Rica is known to have some of the best surfing waves in the world and the rainforests are ideal for treetop trekking adventures.

11. Pura Vida is more than just a phrase — it’s a lifestyle

Pura vida, meaning “pure life”, is not only a common greeting, it’s also a state of mind. Pura vida encapsulates the laidback, friendly and welcoming vibe of Costa Ricans.

RELATED CONTENT: 6 ways to live the Pura Vida lifestyle with Trafalgar in Costa Rica

Did we miss any fun facts about Costa Rica? Share them with us in the comments.

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