Costa Rica This "Rich Coast", nestled between Nicaragua and Panama, is green in fact and philosophy. Thirty five percent (35%) of the country is protected in parks and preserves. Efforts are being made to secure and protect environmental corridors joining the network of parks to assure genetic diversity among the various wildlife populations and to maximize their ranges. Wildlife is a major tourist draw; the country recognizes the heritage of its wildlife and wilderness and accommodates it in their lives.
The population seems industrious. The literacy rate and life expectancy are better than those of the U.S. On a per capita basis, the ecological footprint of a Costa Rican is 1/3 that of a U.S. resident. The country has abolished its army. London's New Economics Foundation holds Costa Rica to be the happiest country in the world; the NEF criteria includes life expectancy, environmental sustainability and subjective happiness. Costa Rica is doing something very right. (Click a thumbnail image once to enlarge; click within the right or left side of the image to advance or go back - or use your right and left arrows. Please give the thumbnails time to populate before a larger image will open; there are many - enjoy them as thumbnails while you wait.)