Costa Rica -Geographical

1. Costa Rica - General
2. Geographical
  Caribbean Basin
  Pacific Ocean
  Mountain system
  Fluvial system
  Natural Resources
  Bird watching
  Gardens and Orchids
  Protected Areas
  Natural Resources
  Bird watching
3. Costa Rica Tourism
4. Costa Rica Media
  Costa Rica Geographical Description
  The high and mountainous regions are in the center of Costa Rica with mountains ridges as high as 12,000 feet (3,636.36 meters) and more (Chirripo National Park), the Northern regions, the Nicoya Peninsula and Gauanacaste are more extensive and flat also the Northern Caribbean slopes are extensive and flat low lands, with the swamps of Caño Negro National Park in the North and the Tortuguero National Park canals in the North East. The slope of the Pacific Ocean is more sudden and it originates a great quantity of beautiful bays, cliffs and coves.

Costa Rica’s Caribbean Basin

  The Caribbean Coast in Costa Rica is the most colorful and vibrant region of Costa Rica. The African Caribbean Culture is the home for great food, rich with tropical Caribbean flavors (Coconut milk is used a lot in the Caribbean traditional cuisine) and the Reggae Music Beat which contributes to the general rhythm of life on the Costa Rican Caribbean Coast.

The coast of the Caribbean Ocean is 212 kilometers (132.5 miles) in length and it stretches from Northeast to Southeast and divides to two sections San Juan - Lemon (that goes from the border with Nicaragua to the port city of Lemon) and Lemon - River Sixaola (From the city of Lemon to the border with Panama). The first section is a coastal length that separates Costa Rica’s Caribbean Ocean to a series of lagoons of sweet water that are fed by multiple rivers. In this zone the Channels of Tortuguero National Park are situated, a natural system of channels and navigable lagoons of more than 110 kilometers (68.75 miles) of extensions that are the natural habitat of seven species of turtles. In the center of Costa Rica’s Caribbean region the port town of Lemon is located, one of the principal ports of the country. Opposite to Limon, cradle of the Costa Rica’s African Caribbean culture stands the Island of Uvita visited by Cristobal Columbus in his fourth and last trip to the new continent, who named it Cariari. Towards the Southeast, in the second section of the littoral, spreads a wide beach interrupted by the coral foreland of Cahuita.

  Costa Rica’s Pacific Ocean
  The coastal Pacific Ocean, with an extension of more than 1.200 kilometers of coast, presents a variety of sceneries, islands, gulfs, tops, swamps, coves and peninsulas that spread from border to border, from the Golfito and up to Northern Bays vast beaches stretch for the recreation and enjoyment of visitors. The principal peninsulas that are in the Pacific Ocean are the Nicoya Peninsula (The Gulf of Nicoya) that offers big attractions to tourists. In this waters the ferries " Salinero " moves and " Tempisque ", which arrive at the beaches of the south sector of the Peninsula of Nicoya. Besides, in this waters are islands and beautiful bays. Those of major size and extension are the islands of Chira and San Lucas. Other islands of great natural beauty are: Negritos and Cedars. The principal port of the Pacific Ocean is a Puerto Caldera near Puntarenas it is a modern port complex for the docking of cruises and ships. Coco Island is 500 km from the coast. Coco Island is famous for its legend of hidden treasures, but its principal wealth is its flora and marine and terrestrial fauna of great beauty and plenty. The Coco Island is a Costa Rican protected reserve. Towards the Southwest off the coastal Pacific Ocean is the Gulf or Peninsula de Osa, called also the Sweet Gulf. Golfito is the major town. In the Southwest part of the Osa Peninsula lays Corcovado National Park rated #3 among the world’s National Parks and boasts a diversity and wealth of flora and fauna.

Costa Rica’s Pacific Ocean is famous for its Sport Fishing and Consistent Surf Conditions!

  Mountain system
  Costa Rica’s Mountain Chain forms an independent group of mountains from the set of Central American mountains. The existing biodiversity in Costa Rica is a paradise for ecological oriented tourism activities. Costa Rica’s Mountain System subdivides into two separated parts in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, this is also the location of Costa Rica’s major cities; San Jose, Alajuela and Heredia. In this mountainous system different mountain chain can be identified. The Volcanic Chain of Guanacaste; Orosí, Miravalles, Tenorio, Rincon De La Vieja with its mud bubbles and thermal springs. Volcano Arenal (The most active of all the volcanoes with approximately 40 small eruptions every day) is located just by the Arenal Lake, a very good location for many water sports activities such as; Windsurfing, Jet Ski and lake Sport Fishing. The Volcanic Mountain Chain of Tilarán consists of the following volcanoes: Poás, Barva and Irazú. There is a relatively easy access to these Volcanoes and they represent an important ecological and biological heritage for Costa Ricans and for the visitors that come to the country every year to visit and learn about Costa Rica’s geographical development. In the Mountain Chain of Talamanca the most famous mountain is Mountain Chirripo and it is the highest peak in Costa Rica with 3.821 meters (12609.3 ft).
  Costa Rica’s fluvial system
  Rainfall patterns, although seasonal, vary greatly in intensity across geographical areas. Some locations receive over 6 mts (18 ft) of precipitation per year, while others receive fewer than 1.5 mts (4 ft). This excessive water stream to the Pacific and the Caribbean Oceans via a system of great rivers and creates a lot of fun tourism attractions such as the famous Rafting and Kayaking on the Pacuare River and the Reventazon Rivers. In the slopes of the Caribbean you can find this two rivers; Reventazón-Parismina with an extension of 145 km, and the Pacuare River, with 108 km. Both Rivers have ideal characteristics for sport fishing, Rafting and Kayaking. In the North of Costa Rica you can find the Colorado River with 96 km in length, and the Sarapiquí River both are good for hiking and other nature oriented sport activities. In the slopes of the Pacific Ocean there is the Tempisque River with its 136 km in length in its river mouth there are the great Mangrove Swamps home to many migrating birds that pass through Costa Rica every year.
  Natural Resources
  Costa Rica has one of the highest biodiversity in the world. Costa Rica’s tropical location and its irregular terrain formation with rapid change in sea levels from 0 sea level to up to 3,800 meters in Costa Rica’s isthmus allows the migration of many bird species between the continental masses of North and South America. To understand the diversity of species it is necessary to know something of the geological history and of the geographical present characteristics in Costa Rica. Costa Rica’s territory was created about 100 million years ago. In these times there was only a marine channel opened with many islands, separating the two most ancient subcontinents. Due to tectonic movements towards the west, The Caribbean tectonic plates shifted south and formed a shaped and narrow terrestrial bridge that joined North and South. This ground was constituted by a rising in the Southeast part (what is today the Mountain chain of Talamanca) and a volcanic formation that goes towards the North (The Mountains of Tilarán). This is how a grouping of species and migration began, plants and animals were migrating through this corridor from North to South and vice versa passing through Costa Rica and creating the biodiversity that now prevails in Costa Rica. On the other hand, the new marine stripe began a process of diversification between the species of both seas due to Costa Rica’s geographical position to 10 ° of North latitude, the country is exposed during almost the whole year to the winds trade coming from the Northwest that come from the Caribbean and come loaded with moisture. Most of the lowlands in the North and the mountains that receive these winds have strong precipitations.
  Costa Rica Bird watching
  Thanks to Costa Rica’s geographical location, between two large land masses North America and South America and a coast with two big oceans, the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans Costa Rica has a great diversity of flora and fauna. Costa Rica has a large number of habitats and the biggest diversity of birds, in a land area similar to Nova Scotia’s or Ireland’s.
Costa Rica has approximately 850 species of birds of which 600 are permanent residents and the rest are migratory birds, migrating during the winter usually from North America to South America and vise versa when the winter comes to South America.
Among the many colorful birds that you will be able to observe while in Costa Rica are the famous and rare Quetzal, the beautiful and colorful Arra Macao, five types of Tucans and many water birds. The Palo Verde National Park in Guanacaste, the Canio Negro National Park near the border with Nicaragua, Tortuguero National Park and, the river mouth of the Tempisque River and the mountain region each has an amazing diversity of birds.
  Costa Rica’s Gardens and Orchids
  Costa Rica has reached world reputation for the large variety of orchids in its forests. You can see many of the Orchid species in the Botanical Gardens at the outskirts of Cartago in the Central Valley. In the Botanical Gardens tourist can learn about the scientific side of Orchids, and about Costa Rica’s various microclimates. The visit in the Botanical Garden are done with an experienced guide that explains about the particulars of these beautiful flowers, wild and hybrid, as well as the origins of other species common to the tropical flora.
  Costa Rica Protected Areas
  From 1992 Costa Rica is a world head office of the " COUNCIL OF THE GROUND ", on Costa Rica’s initiative in the field of the conservation of its natural resources. At present the National System of Areas of Conservation (SINAC) of the Department of the Ambience and Energy (MINAE) has under its responsibility the care and the conservation of more than 30 units spread all over the country that are constituted by a set of national parks or biological terrestrial and marine reservations. Costa Rica is one of the countries with the highest percentage of protected land in the world: 1.342,900 hectares of surface, which corresponds to 26,3 % of the national territory. The importance of the natural resources of Costa Rica goes up to Costa Rica’s borders and protects many forms of life, fauna and flora that are on the route to extinction. This creates a country that is a favorite destination among ecological travelers. This system of National Parks and Reserves has usually access to travelers with facilities that can accommodate sustainable tourism while respecting the existing habitat. In these protected areas visitors can enjoy hikes in nature, observation of birds, camp and explore the rivers, the beaches, the forests, the volcanoes, historical and archaeological places and observe ecological events of great transcendence in the American Continent.
For Costa Rica’s role in the conservation of natural resources, the country was awarded by the San Francisco of Asís and the award of Ecology from the Organization FLAGSTAFF (Association of Travel agents of the United States) as advertised in the Smithsonian Magazine.

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