Tourism in Costa Rica

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TourismIt is the main source of income and has opened doors to trade in many parts of our country.The main comparative advantage of Costa Rica is its system of national parks and protected areas, covering about 25% of the country, the largest percentage of the planet. It contains a rich variety of flora and fauna, and it is estimated to have 5% of the world’s biodiversity in less than 0.1% of the world’s land mass.

In addition, Costa Rica has numerous beaches in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, which coasts are only a few hundred miles away. Also, visitors can safely visit several volcanoes located within the national parks.In the early nineties, Costa Rica became known as the main representative of ecotourism, a period in which foreign tourist arrivals reached an average annual growth of 14% between 1986 and 1994.In 2010, tourism contributed in 5.5% of GDP and 21.2% of the foreign exchange generated by total exports.In 2011, it reached a historical record of 2.196 million foreign tourists.

The tourism industry in Costa Rica stands out as the most visited destination in Central America, followed by Panama and then Guatemala.

Among the most visited places in our country, we can mention:

The Arenal Volcano, the Arenal National Park´s main attraction, is the reason why tourists visit this place. It is one of the most active volcanoes of Costa Rica.The Capital City San José is located in the central valley. There are beautiful places to visit here; the city tour of San José, the Morazan Park, and the National Theatre.

The Tortuguero National Park is situated north of Limon, it protects more than 22 miles of beach and shelters green turtles that come to nest from March to October.The Irazu Volcano National Park is near the cities of San José and Cartago. The volcano belongs to this place and is the highest in Costa Rica.

The Poas National Park, near the city of San Jose, is considered the volcano with the world’s largest crater. It has two craters where people can have a nice view.The Manuel Antonio National Park is smaller but the second most visited after the Poas. It has 17 beautiful white sand beaches, but with very dangerous currents. This part of the Pacific coast is famous for its magnificent sunsets.

The Corcovado National Park is on the Osa Peninsula, it is remote, peaceful and a shelter for wildlife protection. It rains a lot, it is hot and humid, and its tropical forests serve as a “laboratory” for scientific research.

The Chirripo National Park has the Cerro Chirripo, which is the highest peak in Central America. Many people go to this park for hiking and climbing the mountains on foot.The Braulio Carrillo National Park, near the capital San José, is much larger than the Poas and the Irazu parks.

The Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, Monteverde was founded by a group of Quakers from Arkansas. It has forests that are rich in biodiversity. Now it is not owned by the government and is a private reserve.Currently, scientists from all over the world come here to study the place and tourists to enjoy the natural environment.

Therefore, we must take care of our natural resources, as they represent our greatest income.