The Environment of Costa Rica

Costa Rica has a very diverse environment, but I lived in the mountains. These mountains are not like the ones in Colorado with snow on top of them. They are covered in green forests!

Green mountains

What makes this environment special or different?

I lived in Heredia, Costa Rica. The city of Heredia is located in the province of Heredia, which is very close to the capital, San Jose. This area of Costa Rica is very mountainous. This cools down the temperatures which makes it easier for people to live there. This is the most populated area of Costa Rica for this reason.

What parts of this environment help people to live here?

Being in the Central Valley, there are lots of mountains and a cool climate. These are good factors for growing various fruits and vegetables. This helps to feed the people and they eat quite healthily because they have a climate where they can grow their own vegetables and fruits, instead of import having to pay more money to have them imported.

What challenges do people face living in this environment?

One aspect of the environment in Costa Rica that can be challenging is the weather. There is a rainy season and a dry season. That doesn’t mean that it might rain during the rainy season, but is less likely in the dry season. For the most part, in the dry season, it doesn’t rain at all and in the rainy season, it usually rains every day.

I lived in Costa Rica during the dry season and did not see any rain until my last two weeks there which were at the end of April. April is when the rainy season starts to slowly come in so I did not get to see the full strength of the rainy season. However, I did hear stories of floods. They are very common, especially in smaller towns where there are not storm drains. (Storm drains are big holes in the curbs on the streets to drain the water out. Do you have storm drains to help prevent flooding in your neighborhood?)

These floods and extremely dry times have a huge influence on the farming industries in Costa Rica. Each fruit and vegetable has a season in which it can grow, and it will not survive in the other season since they are so dramatically different. So, at certain times of year you can get one fruit or vegetable that you cannot get at another time. This is different from the U.S. where much of our food is imported or grown indoors.

More green mountains!

How have people been adapting to this environment?

Over the centuries, people have migrated to the Central Valley area because of the cooler climate. Having visited the beaches, I can tell you firsthand that it is HOT closer to the coast. The northern areas that border Nicaragua are also hot.

Because the climate is cool and there are a lot of mountains in the area, it is a prime location for coffee plantations. The altitude makes the perfect environment for growing the delicious coffee, for which Costa Rica is known. Their coffee is a huge part of their economy. It brings in a lot of money for the country and is also a huge part of their culture. They drink coffee at all times of the day, even at 9pm at night!

The environment of Costa Rica, from the mountains to the beaches, the rainforest to the volcanoes, is very beautiful and rich with plant and animal life. This makes it a great tourist destination and Costa Ricans have been capitalizing on the environment for a while now. Ecotourism is huge here, which means that people come to enjoy the nature! One of my favorite eco-tourism activities is ziplining through the rainforest! This is a part of the tourism that brings a lot of money to the country as well. Ziplining is when you are attached to a cable and you go from one side of a mountain, volcano or forest to the other on the cable while you hear a ZZZZZZZZIP noise in your ear. I have a video of me ziplining uploaded.

View from a bus out of San Jose of the mountains and the clouds that surround them in the morning.

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