Tiny Costa Rica has 5% of Earth’s biodiversity, but only 0.1% of the world’s land. In fact, fully 25% of Costa Rica’s land is in protected areas, like national parks and conservation areas. With about 800 different species of birds in Costa Rica, it’s a bird-watcher’s paradise and any nature lover’s dream getaway. Start your week right with this video of early morning in Costa Rica, which showcases the incredible beauty of the country’s coastline.
We see them in movies all the time, and we all tend to squirm. Like in Indiana Jones, when Kate Capshaw is covered in creepy crawly bugs which would give most of us the heebie jeebies. Yet, there are professionals that love working with bugs, spiders and all of those other little critters that have more legs than we do. Entomologists study bugs while learning their behavior, habits, and how they work as a community.
The Smithsonian has studied some of the most common bugs in our backyards, including the everyday household ant. We may think they are simple little insects, but they actually create complex underground homes that include several spiraling caves into well-planned chambers. They communicate in a variety of ways, vibrating their bodies to let others know of food or danger. But there really is nothing like seeing the more exotic leaf-cutter ant in its own habitat, which you can do in Costa Rica. These ants create their nests by crawling up trees, carving out leaves, and then taking them back home. The leaves are then used to create compost to help feed the colony.
Paula, from our family show called SciQ on the Smithsonian Channel, was incredibly brave to complete this segment with a very special Hollywood actress named Rosie. If you are as brave as Paula, we’ve provided an opportunity for you to feed a tarantula at our O. Orkin Insect Zoo at the National Museum of Natural History.
Costa Rica is growing more popular as a travel destination for its beaches, biodiversity, and ecotourism opportunities. Before you go, it’s always good to do a little research. Here are five things we bet you didn’t know about Costa Rica.
1) Costa Rica has a 97% literacy rate. Children are constitutionally guaranteed a free education through the 12th grade.
2) It’s the greenest country in the world, with the number one spot on the Happy Planet Index.
3) Twenty-five percent of Costa Rica’s land is in protected areas, like national parks and conservation areas. Tiny Costa Rica has 5% of Earth’s biodiversity, but only 0.1% of the world’s land.
4) Ticos (Costa Rican people) often refer to their spouses, or “other half” as their “media naranja“— the other half of their orange.