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By Pia Tellefsen

Costa Rica is a small country in Central America, spanning from 8 to 12 degrees north of the Equator. It borders with Nicaragua up north and Panama down south. Even though Costa Rica is no more than 51,000 square kilometers, it has an incredible biodiversity, 12 major climatic zones and 77(!) micro-climates. In other words, you can drive for 10 minutes and find that the temperatures change.

In general, one can say that the north is dry and very warm, the middle valley fairly temperate and the eastern Caribbean side warm and humid as the beaches all border with the rainforest. Twenty-five percent of the country is conserved as National Parks, which in practical terms means: rainforests.

Volcanoes and mountaintops reach up to 3,800 meters high and Costa Rica is abundant with lush green and amazing flowers all year around. The east coast is one long stretch of beach bordering on the Caribbean ocean and the west coast is likewise, bordering on the Pacific.

You can start the day at sunrise, enjoying a classic CR breakfast with the juiciest fresh fruit imaginable, as well as their traditional "gaio pinto" (rice & beans dish), then drive leisurely over to the west side, and see the red glowing sun go down while all the birds of the jungle sing the sun's praise.

For more info on Costa Rica, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa_Rica, or http://www.lonelyplanet.com/costa-rica.

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