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Regrettably, only 1 percent of Costa's Rica's 3 million people are of indigenous heritage.
When Mexico rebelled against Spain in 1821, Costa Rica and the rest of Central America followed suit.
Two years later, a faction in Costa Rica even opted to become part of Mexico, sparking a civil war in the country's center between four neighboring cities.
A nation with a long history of public services, including education and healthcare, available to all. Simple statistics cannot do justice to Costa Rica’s friendly people, stunning terrain, rich lands, and long history.
But the facts do paint a colorful picture of this Central American nation, where democracy has prevailed for more than 60 years, Catholicism is the state religion, the government is stable, and the environment is of great importance.
Costa Rican culture is a vibrant blend of indigenous heritage and Spanish colonial influence, with a dash of Jamaican, Chinese, and other immigrant cultures lending character and customs.
The result is a nation of laid-back, friendly, and happy people.
A nation whose official language is Spanish, but where large portions of the populations speak English, Bribri, creole Mekatelyu, and Mandarin Chinese as their first languages.
A nation proud to be without an army (Costa Ricans disbanded their armed forces in 1949).
Among the cultural mysteries left behind by the area's pre-Columbian inhabitants are thousands of perfectly spherical granite bolas that have been found near the west coast.
The sizes of these inimitable relics range from that of a baseball to that of a Volkswagen bus.