Capital City San José
Population: 4,500,000
Currency: Costa Rican colón (₡)
Language: Spanish
Calling Code: +506

Costa Rica is a small tropical country with a population of just 4.5 million habitants. It’s located in Central America between Panama and Nicaragua, and it has plenty of amazing experiences to offer. Make sure you get here quick though, as it is becoming more and more popular with tourists from throughout the world – meaning that the spectacular sites are starting to get pretty crowded.

A gap year in Costa Rica is perfect for all you nature lovers out there – after all, this small country is home to 4% of the world’s wildlife! Costa Rica borders two major seas/oceans: the Pacific and the South Caribbean. On each of them you will find a wide variety of sea life, from white tip reef sharks, stingrays, morays; to an amazing colourful living coral; passing by dolphins, humpback whales, orcas and sea turtles. Then, if you are ready for more adventures, you can head inland to see the rainforests of the interior, with the bountiful amount of species it contains, such as howler monkeys, anteaters and the magnificent, yet elusive, jaguar.

It’s not just nature in Costa Rica though, as the towns and cities are also amazing places to visit. Montezuma, a beautiful beach town, offers a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere for backpackers looking for a break, while the capital city of San Jose mixes traditional Costa Rica with its more modern counterpart. San Jose is also right in the middle of the country, meaning it’s a great jumping off point for adventures throughout the country. And there are many places to jump off to: Costa Rica might be small, but it really punches well above its weight

Working in Costa Rica

If you are planning to work while you’re on a gap year in Costa Rica, you’ll find a few opportunities. Working in the tourism industry is an option, however most of these jobs don’t have a salary: instead they will provide your accommodation and meals. Teaching English is another option – especially within the ever-expanding middle class suburbs of the larger towns and cities. Volunteering shouldn’t be ignored either, as there are loads of opportunities to get involved with environmental projects, helping to preserve this natural paradise.

Where Next?

Costa Rica is located within a cluster of small Central American countries, therefore meaning that you should absolutely take the chance and see everything places like Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama have to offer. Alternatively, it’s really easy to get to the USA or down into South America. Most people will find it tough to tear themselves away from a gap year in Costa Rica though, as there’s always a great new experience around the corner…>

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