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COSTA RICA regularly tops the Happy Planet Index rankings. This despite Costa Rica’s GDP per capita being less than a quarter of the size of many Western European and North American countries…

People living in Costa Rica have higher wellbeing than the residents of many rich nations, including the USA and the UK, and live longer than people in the USA. And all of this is achieved with a per capita Ecological Footprint that’s just one third of the size of the USA’s.

What’s working well in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica abolished its army in 1949, and has since reallocated army funds to be spent on education, health and pensions. Professor Mariano Rojas, a Costa Rican economist at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, attributes Costa Ricans’ high wellbeing to a culture of forming solid social networks of friends, families and neighbourhoods.

Costa Rica is also a world leader when it comes to environmental protection. The Costa Rican government uses taxes collected on the sale of fossil fuels to pay for the protection of forests.

In 2015, the country was able to produce 99% of its electricity from renewable sources, and the government continues to invest in renewable energy generation in an effort to meet its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2021.

What could be improved?

Income inequality in Costa Rica is particularly high - in part because Costa Rica’s tax system does not effectively redistribute wealth across the population.


Costa Rica is well connected by air to other Central and South American countries, as well as the USA. The main international airport is ‘AeropuertoInternacional Juan Santamaría’ – 17km northwest of San José, in the town of Alajuela. Share your flight details with us and we will arrange transfer with Montezuma Expeditions [1st June till 14th December daily transfers at 08:00 / 15th December till 31st May twice daily transfers at 06:00 & 14:00]. Generally a 1 hour bus to Puntarenas, 75 minute ferry to Paquera (last ferry departs 20:00) and then another 1 hour bus to Santa Teresa - a great way to start your adventure and get into that island vibe!

  • Flights from Houston, Miami or New York are most common.
  • From Canada, most travelers to Costa Rica connect through US gateway cities, though Air Canada has direct flights from Toronto.
  • From the UK, Costa Rica is served by British Airways and Virgin, typically with at least one stop.
  • Flights from the UK and Europe connect either in the USA, Mexico City or Toronto. High-season fares may still apply during the northern summer, even though this is the beginning of the Costa Rican rainy season.
  • From Australia and New Zealand, travel routes usually go through the USA or Mexico. Fares are highest in June and July, even though this is the beginning of the rainy season in Costa Rica.

    Turtles – Olive Ridley, Black Turtle, Hawksbill and Leatherback species – nest along the Nicoya Peninsula year round, but peak time is during rainy season. From August through December ‘arribadas’ (mass synchronised nestings) occur regularly and the numbers of nesting females are in the range of hundreds of thousands as opposed to tens of thousands during the dry season months. Usually the ‘arribadas’ occur during the darkest nights: a few days before the new moon, when the majority of turtles arrives between 8 pm and 4 am.At first, a few hundred turtles will come out on the beach, followed by a steady stream of animals for the next three to seven days.

    The baby turtles hatch within 45-54 days depending on incubation temperatures, which will also determine if they will become male or female. They face varying degrees of success in each of the clutches that are laid in large groups to increase their success of surviving.

    In general, the baby turtles hatch at night, but it may also happen that you are sitting in the afternoon on the beach and suddenly, next to you the sand becomes live and small heads pop up.As soon as the hatchlings have struggled out of the sand, the race to the ocean begins. With eyes barely opened, the mini turtles smell the breeze and instantly know the right direction.

    Having reached the ocean, the mini turtles still aren't safe - the next cast of predators awaits them under water.Most hatchlings don't reach the age of maturity which will take 10 - 15 years. But those who make it will remember their home beach. Adventurous turtles may paddle across the Pacific ocean as far as India but their impressive natural navigation system steers them back to their place of birth where they will lay their eggs again into the black sanded beach, like their mother once did.

    Telephone: +1 800-562-4216