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Costa Rican history dates back to about 10,000 BC, the pre-Columbian period when indigenous nations settled in fertile valleys and lived in the shadows of active volcanoes. In 1502, Christopher Columbus touched ground in Costa Rica, dubbing the colony a “rich coast” after accepting golden gifts from the natives. But Costa Rica had little gold and its true riches were more basic in nature: volcanic soil in which, as the locals say, even a stick can grow. By the mid-1800s, coffee had taken hold as the country’s most important export. Bananas would be the only challenge to coffee’s reign until the late 20th century, when tourism, and particularly ecotourism, ascended to the throne of Costa Rica’s most important industry.

  • Pre-Columbian Period

    Pre-Columbian Period

    Although indigenous tribes have lived in what is now known as Costa Rica for thousands of years, the country's pre-Columbian period was perhaps one of the most formative. Evidence of the country's rich blend of cultures and history is...

  • Colonization of Costa Rica

    Colonization of Costa Rica

    Costa Rica has been home to several indigenous tribes for thousands of years, but the arrival of the Spanish and the country's subsequent colonization were among the most defining events in the nation's history.

  • Greatest Tico Athletes

    Greatest Tico Athletes

    Although this tiny country does not have many Olympic medalists or internationally recognized sportsmen, their accomplishments mean the world to most Costa Ricans. You will notice it every time the national soccer team, “La Sele”,...

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