Since then "Ticos," as Costa Ricans are known, have always been peaceful by nature. And perhaps even a little self-absorbed, living amongst exquisite tropical fruits, exuberant foliage and few buildings. The good life and the simple pleasures it brings are exalted here. Costa Rica is only 51,000 km2, with just 4.5 million inhabitants, yet it annually welcomes around 2 million tourists – more that 2 tourists per citizen. But it's not just a mass tourism destination. Quite the opposite in fact, as Costa Rica is famous for its natural scenery, easygoing pace of life and friendly people.
In addition, Costa Rica really stands out from mass tourism countries for having introduced the concept of sustainable tourism. Why is that important? Despite occupying just 0.03% of the globe's land mass, Costa Rica is home to 4% of the world's biodiversity, among the top 20 countries in the world. Perhaps less well-known are the unique economic and social strides taken by the diminutive nation. This started in the 1880s, when coffee was the country's chief economic export. Thanks to the coffee boom, the National Theater, one of the most important architectural and cultural treasures of the capital city of San Jose, was financed.