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21 Reasons Why Costa Rica Is The Happiest Country In The World

mycostarica / Instagram

Costa Rica is all the proof we need that there is a template for happiness and it relies on each and every one of us (and our government) to make people and our environment a priority. Costa Rica is by no means the richest country in the world, but researchers have learned what makes Costa Ricans some of the happiest people.

Here’s to taking a page out of Costa’s printed-on-recycled-paper book.

1. Costa Rica is ranked #1 in the Happy Planet Index (HPI).

CREDIT: @mycostarica / Instagram

Can you imagine why? It was No. 1 in 2009 and 2012 as well. Professor Mariano Rojas, the country’s leading economist, says that the key to happiness is Costa Rica’s culture of strong communities of friends, families and neighbors.

2. They live longer than Americans.

CREDIT: @Roblesabanacoff / Twitter

And by the way, they also have a quarter of the GDP than most other Western European and North American countries. Riches truly can’t buy happiness, or even longevity. Costa Rica is proof.

3. Costa Rica’s ecological footprint is a third the size of the USA’s.

CREDIT: @mycostarica / Instagram

It’s government is very focused on maintaining the island’s pristine ecosystems, and for good reason. Eco-tourism is the economy’s largest industry.

4. I mean, look at just one of its National Parks:

CREDIT: @mycostarica / Instagram

Caption: “Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s smallest National Park, just 4.900 acres of land and 136.000 acres under water. Forbes magazine even considered Manuel Antonio Costa Rica to be among the top twelve most beautiful national parks in the world! Two and three-toed sloths, coatimundis, howler monkeys, hummingbirds and iguanas are just a few of the many species of animals that you can see here.”

SLOTHS, GUYS.

4. In 2015, the country produced 99% of its electricity from renewable energy.

CREDIT: @KathrynBruscoBk / Twitter

The government plans to become entirely carbon neutral by 2021. Look at Costa Rica leading the world in environmental protection.

5. Costa Rica’s new Cabinet has more women than men.

CREDIT: @TheTicoTimes / Twitter

So it makes sense that they’re winning at their government-led programs. #ByePatriarchy

6. The government tried to ban all zoos.

CREDIT: @DMAX_es / Twitter

But, alas, companies that profit off animals will do their damnest to keep exploiting them. The company that owns the two zoos in the country took the government to court and is permitted to operate for the rest of their contract. Eight years until we see them shut down.

7. Costa Rica did ban the keeping of cetaceans in captivity.

CREDIT: @mycostarica / Instagram

That means that the country isn’t renting out its dolphins for tourists to swim with and there will never be a #FreeTilly movement. H/t to you Costa Rica.

8. And they have a dog sanctuary called “Land of the Strays.”

CREDIT: @mycostarica / Instagram

As soon as a stray gets there, he’s neutered, given vaccines, and left to roam free and play with other dogs. Plus, they’re all up for adoption! Costa Rica is a legit friend to animals.

9. It’s home to just one of five Blue Zones in the world.

CREDIT: @robert_ruggiero / Twitter

Blue Zones are places where people live longer, happier, and healthier than anywhere else in the world. The Nicoya Peninsula is just the place, and this research tells us why Costa Ricans are so happy.

10. Strong community bonds top the list.

CREDIT: @oliverlozornio / Twitter

Like many of our own homes, the generations before and after you live in or around your house. The neighbors are like extended family, and are actively involved in their lives.

11. They stay active until old age, which is on average 78.6 years old.

CREDIT: @CentAm_Beauty / Twitter

You know how, when you’re outside in the sun, you just feel happier? Agriculture is a major economy driver in Costa Rica which means its residents spend their days cultivating the land they live on and releasing endorphins all over the place.

12. Which means they’re eating home cooked and farm fresh meals all day long.

CREDIT: @agapecostarica / Twitter

Here’s the key to a happy live: homemade corn tortillas, rice, beans, platanos, cabbage and carrot salad, and a protein. Here are some examples of good Costa Rican food.

13. We can’t not talk about Gallo Pinto

CREDIT: @peopleplatesandplanet / Instagram

I’m drooling. This breakfast dish is made of rice and beans with peppers, cilantro and onions. When it’s all mixed up, it looks like a “spotted rooster” tu sabes?

14. Costa Rican Tamales are ajo af.

CREDIT: @theedjraul / Instagram

Unlike Mexican tamales, Costa Rican tamales are wrapped in banana leaves instead of corn husks, and are much less spicy and just as good and garlicky.

15. Last but not least, there’s Arroz con leche.

CREDIT: @arte_gastronomico / Instagram

To make it vegan, use full fat coconut milk, very soft rice, and all the spices (lemon zest, salt, sugar and cinnamon sticks).

16. Back to business: Costa Rica hasn’t had an army since 1949.

CREDIT: @DynamikWorks / Twitter

President Jose Figueres literally smashed the national military headquarters with a wall and then turned it into a national art museum. Imagine a world where your country isn’t at war, or being threatened to be nuked. If you’re in the U.S., you get the fear.

17. All the best healthcare, education and employment rates.

CREDIT: @TheTicoTimes / Twitter

Since then, it use war funds on education, health and pensions. The GDP of Costa Rica is less than $8,000 but a literacy rate of 97.8% and employment rate of 91.5%.

18. The weather is perfecto.

CREDIT: @de_ride_photography / Instagram

We’re talking about a tropical island where the temperature ranges from 71 to 80°F, with ocean breezes from all directions. So this kind of life is just casual.

19. Did we mention they also have sloths?

CREDIT: @mycostarica / Instagram

Like, they’re not difficult to spot. Any native could tell you a few of their local spots to see sloths. THEY ARE JUST THE CUTEST.

20. And volcanos?

CREDIT: @mycostarica / Instagram

Like I said, super casual island to live on. When I moved from Florida to LA, it took me months to get used to seeing mountains. I think I’d be annoyingly in awe for the rest of my life if volcanoes were my yard view.

This Costa Rican Plane Hotel Boasts More Monkeys Than People And It Is The Perfect Escape

Entertainment

This Costa Rican Plane Hotel Boasts More Monkeys Than People And It Is The Perfect Escape

hoteisinusitados / Instagram

Latin America wins the Most Creative Hotels Award, and it’s possible that Hotel Costa Verda is the clincher. Suspended above a private rainforest, adjacent to protected Manuel Antonio National Park, is a refurbished 1965 Boeing 727 airplane.

The vessel has been refurbished with hardwood floors, walls, and ceiling. It is a coveted private suite among a rainforest resort. They’re calling it an “Avion Hotel,” but we’re calling it Latin magic.

This spot beats any Bali treehouse hotel.

@hotelcostaverde / Instagram

The plane itself is suspended by a 50-foot pedestal. It might seem counterintuitive to relax on an airplane, but wait till you see inside it.

The furniture is hand-carved Indonesian teak wood is as beautiful as it sounds.

@hotelcostaverde / Instagram

The main suite is two bedrooms, each with a private bathroom. It also includes a kitchenette and dining area. Talk about a sweet suite.

Plus, you get jungle-side ocean views all in one frame.

@journeyingwithtab / Instagram

Every glimpse outside one of your dozen little airplane windows is breathtaking. Plus, you might even get up close and personal with the wildlife.

The hotel boasts “Still More Monkeys Than People🐒” as its Instagram description.

@hotelcostaverde / Instagram

So you’re going to see monkeys galore. A recent traveler shared a tip on TripAdvisor, “If you love wildlife, this is the place to stay. Monkeys every day would visit us, as well as beautiful Toucans, and other birds and animals. We did hear the Howler Monkeys every morning and they became our alarm clock.”

The Avion Hotel has become a wedding destination for obvious reasons.

@milbesoscr / Instagram

This is what the plane looked like before it was renovated. If you follow @hotelcostaverde, you’ll see the amount of machinery it took to properly place the plane.

You don’t have to get married to stay here.

@hotelcostaverde / Instagram

The hotel offers dozens of rooms that all include access to several pools, sunning decks and all the same wildlife. In fact, for some guests, it was too much wildlife.

Some suites include private outdoor bathtubs surrounded by jungle sounds.

@taivag / Instagram

Although, one TripAdvisor reviewer from Massachusetts noted that it can come with a catch. “‘Creatures’ can get in, a salamander greeted us in the bathtub,” TyBL15 wrote.

You can walk through the jungle to the beach or take a bus.

@hotelcostaverde / Instagram

With warm ocean waters nearly year round, it’s both beautiful to look at, and access. If you’re not feeling it, you can just stay in the pool and look out at the ocean.

There is an adults only section.

@marii_quesada / Instagram

Which includes its own pool and patio, free from children. Whether you’re looking for a family vacation with a plane out of a museum for your kids to enjoy, or a relaxing stay, Hotel Costa Verde seems to have it all.

Plus, apparently “Willie the bartender makes the best frozen drinks.”

@elavionrestaurant / Instagram

At least according to one reviewer. Plus, Costa Rican fruit drinks are fresher than anything you’ll find stateside. Often, you can find some of the fruit growing around the property.

There are four restaurants on the property.

@miamiappetite / Instagram

Kristin recently wrote that “the food was amazing and the portions were huge. We learned to start splitting some meals because they provide “Costa Rican portions.”

We don’t know that there’s any other place like it in the world.

@hotelcostaverde / Instagram

One reviewer gave it to us straight: “The images on their site do this place no justice. This place is gorgeous and very cool with the airplane cottages.”

READ: 22 Amazing Airbnb Listings For Your Next Trip to Latin America

Costa Rican Officials Find A Body They Believe Could Be That Of Missing Miami Woman

Things That Matter

Costa Rican Officials Find A Body They Believe Could Be That Of Missing Miami Woman

carla_margarita / Instagram

What should have been a fun birthday trip in Costa Rica for 36-year-old Carla Stefaniak has now turned into tragedy for her family. The woman, a Miami resident born in Venezuela, had gone to Costa Rica to celebrate her birthday with her sister-in-law, but when she didn’t arrive home on November 28, and her family got worried.

Carla Stefaniak last spoke to friends and family on November 27.

CREDIT: facebook.com/findingcarla

It was on the day that she dropped off her sister-in-law at the airport. Stefaniak was scheduled to leave the following day. Stefaniak took an Uber from the airport and was reportedly going to do some sightseeing around San Jose, the BBC reports, before she was ultimately dropped back at her Airbnb.

That evening she texted with family and friends and sent an ominous message that left her family feeling worried.

CREDIT: facebook.com/findingcarla

She told them that the power had gone out due to the heavy rain and also called the area where she was staying in as “pretty sketchy.” By this point, Stefaniak had already checked in to her flight, and scheduled an Uber to pick her up and take her to the airport the following day.

According to her family, the Airbnb rental owner and the local security guards claim that they saw Stefaniak “get into an unknown car with her luggage at around 05:00 local time.”

CREDIT: facebook.com/findingcarla

However, her family says that scenario “makes no sense.” Officials there also claim that they didn’t initially investigate the situation because she got into a car willingly.

Costa Rican officials report that they have found a body 200 feet from the Airbnb where Stefaniak had been staying.

CREDIT: facebook.com/findingcarla

The family is currently at the morgue awaiting to see if the body is their daughter.

“For the last four hours they are just there waiting,” family friend and spokesperson Bugra Demirel, told the BBC. “It’s a horrible wait, and every single minute that Costa Rican officials are not showing the body is just a tremendous amount of pain on the family.”

Since the day that Stefaniak was scheduled to arrive home but did not, her family launched a Facebook page for their daughter in which they claim Stefaniak was kidnapped.

Just a couple of days ago they posted: “HOW TO HELP: We are doing everything we can to get the U.S. Department of State: Consular Affairs to utilize their resources to help us bring Carla Stefaniak back home safely! This is what we need to get the FBI more involved and for them to be allowed to utilize their resources!!. WE NEED HELP IN NUMBERS!! If you would like to help please copy the below “Official Statement” and send it to your local congress representative, governor or the state department at email –> ProtocolHelp@state.gov You can also tweet this link –> https://gma.abc/2RziRlj to these twitter addresses and write “Please Help, American Tourist Kidnapped in Costa Rica.”

Demirel told the BBC that while the family is hoping for the best, they understand that the body found could in fact be their daughter.

“Even the best circumstance is really a nightmare scenario — we’re hoping it’s not Carla, but then it’s somebody else’s daughter,” Demirel said. “We’re hoping it’s not Carla based on what we know, but there’s still a lot of possibility that it could be.”

The family also reports on Facebook that they have no updates as of yet. “The wait is so painful but all the love and support for Carla and the family is beyond amazing! We will update everyone as soon as we know! Thank you so much!”

READ: This Woman’s Body Was Found A Week After She Disappeared. Latinos Are Furious Mass Media Didn’t Cover Her Story

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