COSTA RICA — Peaceful and Fertile, An Unusual Central American Country

Costa Rica is Central America’s special jewel with the highest standard of living in Central America and the highest degree of social advancement. Known as an oasis of calm amongst its turbulent neighbors, Costa Rica’s natural attractions draw enlightened conservationists from all over the world. Due to the overwhelming European influence dominates much of indigenous culture, her own social history did not begin until the middle of the 19th century. Her popularity is more for her natural beauty and friendly people than for its New World culture.

Costa Rica’s two coastlines are a considerable prize for any country. Her Atlantic (frequently referred to as her Caribbean coastline) is characterized by mangroves, swamps and sandy beaches, while her Pacific cost is more rugged and rocky with a number of gulfs and peninsulas. She is blessed with over 850 recorded bird species; more than 1400 tree species.

The Republic of Costa Rica is but 19,700 square miles, with a population of 3.5 million and located on the Central American isthmus. Costa Rica is bordered on the north by Nicaragua, on the south by Panama and the Pacific ocean on the west. The balmy temperatures hover around 57 to 75 degrees F. Her official language is Spanish which is remarkably pure and close to Castilian Spanish.

Largely agricultural, she raises bananas, cattle, cocoa, coffee, rice and sugarcane. She engages in much food processing. Lately, she has added considerable clean electronic manufacturing. The first European explorer to encounter Costa Rica was the Christopher Columbus in September, 1502. This was his fourth and final voyage to the New World. He named the country Costa Rica (rich coast), for he presumed the areas was rich in gold and silver. The name remained mostly because the region was near perfection with its wealth of natural beauty and virtually flawless climate.

In 1987, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize ending the Nicaraguan civil war.  Peaceful Costa Rica, has been ruled since 1949 by democratically elected presidents. She is the only Central American country which doesn’t have a standing army.

Costa rica grows many exotic foods:

Guayabas (guavas) come into season Sept- Nov.; their pink fruit used for jams and jellies.

Pejibaye palm produces heart of palm used in salads.

The maranon, is a fruit commonly used in refrescos. Mamones are little green spheres. Yellowish egg-size fruits are granadillas known as passion fruit.

Moras (blackberries) most commonly used in drinks.

LEGACY DISHES:

Ackee (a small fruit tasting like scrambled eggs)
Bocas are different types offood in small mounts, usually ceviche or chicken wings or bean soup, to have with drinks (tapas)
Casado – arroz (rice), frijoles (Black beans), carne (beef), repollo (cabbage), plantano (plantain). Avocado (aguacates) o r egg may also be included.
Ceviche – marinated seafood, often chilled, made ofcomna (sea bass), ide of corvine (sea bass), chopped onion, garlic, and sweet red peppers.
Empanadas – tumovers stuffed with beans, cheese, meat, or potatoes
Enchiladas – pastries stuffed with cheese and potatoes and occasionally meat.
Fresco de Frutas, a combination of fresh fruits floating on a base of kola and water
Gallo Pinto, translated means “Spotted Rooster.” The national dish of rice and beans, can include coconut milk
Gallo, a tortilla sandwiches stuffed with beans, cheese or meat
Horchata, a cinnamon flavored cornmeal drink,
Olla de carne – soup made of squash, corn, yucca, chayote, ayote (a pumpkinlike vegetable), and potatoes
Patacones – thin slices of deep-fried plantain. A popular Caribbean dish. -
Pescado ahumado – smoked marlin
Sopa de mondongo – soup made from tripe and vegetables
Sopa negra – a creamy soup, often with a hard-boiled egg and vegetables soaking in the bean broth
Tamales – boiled commeal pastries stuffed with corn,  chicken, or pork, and 1 in a banana or com leaf. A popular Christmas dish.


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