Costa Rica Costa Rica, go ahead and take a peek-a lush and green and quite unique-a, Costa Rica Costa Rica That’s my poem, I hope you liked it. It’s time to learn Geography NOW! Hey everybody, I’m your host Barby Finally, we are out of Africa and back on the other side of the globe Get ready for a place where a guy can do this to a crocodile Let’s jump into the flag This is where things get a little tricky because Costa Rica is one of the countries that interchangeably uses both the official and simplified variant of their flags The simplified version does not have a coat of arms, and is just a banner with five bands, Two blue bands, one on top, one on the bottom; two whites under the blues, and a double-width band of red in the center. Side note: do not get the simplified version of the flag confused with the flag of Thailand. If we were to include the coat of arms The coat of arms is a golden frame containing an illustrated veneer with two banners above it saying “América Central” and “República de Costa Rica” You don’t need to speak Spanish to know what those mean The image contains seven stars in the sky representing the seven provinces Below are three volcanoes with cute puffs of smoke coming out of them representing the three mountain chains of the country Engulfing the volcanoes are oceans on either side indicating the bi-coastal position of the country with merchant ships that even have miniature Costa Rican flags Making Costa Rica once again one of the only few countries with a flag of their flag in their flag. I know, I know, in the Afghanistan video I said there were only two countries that had that Look, it was my first episode, I was a little nervous, I didn’t get everything right, I was super awkward… Off-voice: Hey Paul, Paul… Let’s show ’em the clip. No! No! No! Which, by the way, makes Afghanistan one of the only two countries in the world that has a flag with miniature versions of its own flag on its own flag. Arrgh! It was sooo baaad! Alright, let’s move on. Costa Rica! Translated to “The rich coast”, and quite flankly, unlike some places, this country does live up to that name Côte d’Ivoire… ces plages semblent belles, mais ils ne sont pas fait d’ivoire (Ivory Coast, your beaches are pretty, but they’re not made of ivory) 조선민주주의인민공화국
“Joseon ‘Minjujuyi’ Inmin Gonghwaguk”
(‘Democratic’ People’s Republic of Korea) 민주주의? 북한, 진짜? 어이시, 그러셔, 네가 원하면
“Minjujuyi? Bukhan, jinja? Eoishi, gureosheo, niga wonhamyeon”
(Democratic? North Korea, really? Fine, do it if you wish) Anyway, Costa Rica is located in the southern portion of the Central American Isthmus that connects North America to South America, bordered by Nicaragua in the Northwest, and Panama in the Southeast. Like most Central American countries, except Belize and El Salvador, the country has two convenient coasts on the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. From a distance, you would think Costa Rica borders lake Nicaragua, but Nicaragua was like “NOPE” I am literally claiming the entire border around the lake and calling it mine, even if I have to draw a narrow two mile wide quarter around the South rim. Speaking of which, Costa Rica and Nicaragua had a short dispute over this incredibly small island off the San Juan river, and it ended up going to the International Court. The country is divided into seven provinces, with the capital San José located inland in the San José province and acts as both a provincial and national capital of the country. Speaking of which, writing a letter or post card in Costa Rica can be quite the funny ordeal. Many houses don’t even have numbers, so you have to locate them by landmark or numerical position, such as: “Third house on the left” or “behind the gas station by the mango tree” That can literally count as an address. The country has two hook-shaped peninsulas on the Pacific creating the Gulf of Nicoya and the Pavon Bay, ending with the tail of Costa Rica on the shared peninsula with Panama in the Puntarenas province. Speaking of which, some people will say that the shape of Costa Rica resembles a crab, but I personally think it looks more like a deformed bull with severe scoliosis leaping into freedom. The country has over thirty main islands and hundreds upon hundreds of small islands and rocks mostly at the coast. However, the most notable island would have to be the Cocos island, the furthest-off claim that Costa Rica inhabits. Located about 555 kilometers Southwest off the coast in the Pacific. If you want to check out this place, you will literally only be allotted a few hours during the daytime, and then you gotta get out. The biggest reason for this type of restrictive policy is partially for the protection of the high concentration of endemic flora and fauna, but also it’s rumored that this place may also be the site of various pirate treasures. Historically, Costa Rica kind of had to gain independence like three times, once from Spain, once from the Mexican empire, which is a whole other crazy story, and finally, one last time from the Federal Republic of Central America, in which all these countries used to be one country for like 20 years. Well, kind of, there was this one short-lived country that never quite made it and got absorbed into Guatemala and Mexico. Rest in peace, Los Altos. Also, there’s those cool looking petrospheres created by the Diquís people from long ago that Archeologists don’t quite know the significance of. Okay, let’s move on. Okay, so we’ve discussed the “Costa” part of the country, now let’s talk a little bit more about the “Rica.” Costa Rica will blow your mind, not only in the flora and fauna composition, but also the nationally administered policies that facilitate the environmental make-up of the country. Last year, they even upgraded the bank notes to depict some of the biodiversity you can find there and it looks freakin’ seizurific crazy insane balls beautyfricktastical. In short, Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity, so much to the point where even though the country makes up less than half of one percent of the Earth’s landmass, it holds over five percent of the entire world’s biodiversity. They take their jungles seriously. About a quarter of the entire country is made up of protected national parks, the highest percentage of any country in the world, and in recent years, they have had successfully managed to lower the deforestation to almost zero. On top of that, Costa Rica’s set a goal to become the first carbon neutral country in the world by 2021. But in the Bhutan video didn’t you say… Yes, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I know in the Bhutan video I said that Bhutan was a carbon-sink nation, but there’s a difference between a carbon-sink and a carbon neutral country. In a nutshell, one absorbs but can still produce carbon, and the other one produces none. Got it? Good. On top of that, Costa Rica effectively banned recreational hunting, although once every so often you get a few underground perpetrators, and on top of that, the country has already achieved around 95 to 99 percent renewable energy, 80 percent of which is produced by hydropower. Crazy, right? Costa Rica’s landscape is speckled with over 120 volcanic formations, seven of which are still active, including the Poás volcano, which has one of the widest craters in the world Because of all the environmentally conscience actions Costa Rica has taken, the tourism industry has exploded in the past few decades. And with a nearly 2 billion dollar yearly input, Costa Rica is the most visited country in Central America. It’s actually kinda funny how the population shifted industries so rapidly that people here are quite innovative. And it all had to kinda do with what they did after their third independence, let’s discuss that in… Okay so, to kinda get things straight, technically you can refer to someone in Costa Rica as a “Costa Rican” However, it’s also acceptable to call them either a “Tico” for men, or a “Tica” for women. First off, the country has about 4.8 million people and it’s one of the most politically stable countries in Latin America. When it comes to ethnic make-up, things get a little interesting because they have three categories for “Caucasian”: The whites, the mestizo and the castizo -which are like a mixture between whites and mestizos.- Still following me? Anyway, all together the three Caucasian groups make up about 84 percent of the population, Mullatos or half blacks make up about seven percent, about three percent are Amerindian, one percent black, and the remainder are a mixture of races like Asians, Middle-Easterners, and so on. Although the line is a little debatable, with a history of extensive European immigration from places like Germany, England, and the Netherlands, France, and Ireland. In general, Costa Rica is one of the “whiter” Latin American countries. Why do you always have to label people by race? Because it’s a thing people have and it’s not necessarily bad to identify with. The Amerindian population are mostly derived from the eight ethnic groups that inhabit secluded reservations mostly along the Central and Southeastern regions of the country along the border of Panama. A large portion of the black population lives along the Caribbean coast, and are English or Patois-speaking descendants of Jamaican and Caribbean immigrants that came in the 19th century. That’s the other thing. Yes, Spanish is the official language, but because of the booming tourism sector, especially with the United States, Costa Ricans have one of the highest English proficiencies in Latin America. About one out of every nine adults speaks English fluently enough to hold a general conversation, whereas others can somewhat get the point across. Nonetheless, Costa Rica definitely sets itself apart when it comes to Spanish vernacular. They have their own distinct “twang” that any Latino would be able to distinguish. Two words you would most likely find only in Costa Rica are “Pura vida” and “Mae.” “Pura vida” literally translates to “Pure life”, but is commonly used as a greeting somewhere along the lines of “What’s up?” Whereas “Mae” is kind of like “Buddy” or “Dude.” So, if ya hear someone say “Pura vida, mae” chances are, you may have just witnessed your first Costa Rican. They also have a ton of other words like “Tuanis”, “Brete”, and “Menudo”, which is not THIS… but this, but we don’t have time to get into that. Quick little side note, do not be alarmed if you witness people all over the country walking around carrying machetes, machetes are a nationwide multitool used for everything, it’s like the Costa Rican equivalent of duct tape. One thing that really makes Costa Rica stick out like a sore thumb, though, is the fact that they’ve pretty much avoided general conflict for over six decades. The last war they were in was a civil war that ended with them disbanding the entire military in 1948. Although of course they still have a police force and special forces in commando units, still Costa Rica is the largest country in the world to have absolutely no military forces. The military budget was then allocated to the country’s education and health services, which, to no surprise, is why Costa Rica has some of the highest education and literacy rates as well as at life expectancy in Latin America and has adopted a diplomatic “neutrality” stance in their foreign policy that allows them to intercede well with other neighbors. In 1987, former president Óscar Arias Sánchez was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to eliminate armed conflict in Central America. So, they have mountains, remain neutral, they have a service-driven economy, are pretty much economically and politically stable. Hey, it’s kinda like they’re the Switzerland of- Don’t say that! Oh, uh… I mean, eh… Let’s talk about their… Costa Rica knows how to get along with people… mostly. They have relations with so many countries in every region of the world, and especially in the Latin world as they try to act neutral and oftentimes as a diplomatic intercessor for conflicts in the area. First off, have you ever had a cousin that totally looks like you and could be mistaken for your twin? That’s kinda what Panama is… even though the two have been incredibly close, they did grew up in different households, but nonetheless they’ve kind of acted as like the links between North and South America. Both countries have developed the same affinity for the US over time, and especially in the 80’s when tourists started flocking in by the herds. Nicaragua is probably Costa Rica’s biggest competitor, however, even after the island dispute drama they still kinda get along. Soccer matches get pretty heated, though. Costa Rica also recognizes Kosovo as a state, which doesn’t sit well with Serbia. Mexico is kinda like the older brother that is like really a lot older, like the parents had him decades before you were born and by the time you came out he kinda already had his own family. When it comes to their best friends, however, Costa Rica would probably say the US. The US is their largest business partner. Half of all the imports and exports and tourism come from the US, and two thirds of its overall foreign investment. Politically, they even follow the same checks and balances format of the US federal government. Nonetheless, China just kinda stepped in and was like “Hey, can I build you guys a stadium?” In conclusion, Costa Rica is like the pacifist nature guy in Central America who just wants you to zipline through his jungles, chill out on the beach, and not fight with him. Please, just don’t fight with him. Stay tuned, Croatia is coming up next. Hey Geograpeeps, say Hi to Vincent. I’ll let him speak for himself Hello! I’m Vincent, from the Netherlands. I’ve been working with Paul for the last Two Months on his channel It’s been a lot of fun and I really love making stuff for him and, uh, I like, you know, putting eyeballs on countries and giving them thumbs and it’s just the magic of Graphic Design But, I did make today’s intro, so, um, I hope you enjoy them, you’re gonna be seeing them a lot…Well, have a good one, enjoy the show!