Costa Rica extends from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea over a distance of barely 200 miles. The total land mass occupies only 20 thousand square miles.
From wet, dry, tropical, and temperate forests to volcanoes, beaches, high mountains, and marshy lowlands, Costa Rica is home to bewilderingly diverse landscapes, flora, and fauna.
Costa Rica is one of the world's most popular destinations for eco-tourists because of its biodiversity. It has been stated that Costa Rica may contain as much as 6% of the world's plant and animal species in an area that is the combined size of the U.S. states of Vermont and New Hampshire. Both tropical plant and animal species abound in Costa Rica. Some of the more impressive plants range from huge ficus trees with epiphytes abounding on their limbs to approximately 1500 different orchids. The animals are equally as impressive, whether it's a jaguar (the largest cat in the New World), the ever-elusive Margay, or the wonderful birds like the green or scarlet macaws (lapas in Costa Rican Spanish). The amphibians are also quite eye-catching, especially the poison dart frogs with their bright colors and the giant cane toads.
Costa Rica, which means "Rich Coast," constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949 and it is the only Latin American country included in the list of the world's 22 older democracies. The current population is around 4.6 million.