Located in the tropical latitudes, between the giant biological influences of North and South America and boarded by two oceans, mountainous Costa Rica enjoys an immense diversity of climates and ecosystems.
Twelve major life zones harbor an astounding amount of plant and animal life. While Costa Rica covers a mere 0.03% of the planet's surface, the nation is endowed with over 5% of all life forms on earth.
An impressive 22,647 miles (36,447 km.) of roads plus well-developed nature trail systems give easy access to every habitat and all but the most remote areas. You can drive to the very edge of a volcanic crater, through the heart of a mountain jungle, take an aerial tram ride in the rainforest canopy and soak up sun on a deserted beach, all on the same day.
In the foothills and lowlands of both slopes, Costa Rica rainforest harbor thousands of known and unknown life forms. They are among the last strongholds of biodiversity on earth. Resonating with the songs of birds, at dawn. the rainforest is quiet in the heart of the day, its stillness punctuated by the insect-like call of poison dart frogs, the rasping of cicadas or the whistled notes of wrens and antbirds.
The dark, cool interior of primary rainforest is surprisingly free of entangling vegetation. Only where light manages to filter through the interlocking canopy to the forest floor does vegetation proliferate. Walking in the rainforest is like taking a step back time. The modern world and all its stress fade into insignificance
Do you know how many tropical rainforest plants have been identified as having anti-cancer properties? Or how many continents around the world contain rainforests? And just how quickly are the world's rainforests disappearing?
Find out the answers to these questions and more as you check out these interesting rainforest facts!
Facts about the Global Coverage of Rainforests:
- Fact: Covering less than 2 percent of the Earth's total surface area, the world's rainforests are home to 50 percent of the Earth's plants and animals.
- Fact: Rainforests can be found all over the world from as far north as Alaska and Canada to Latin America, Asia and Africa.
- Fact: Rainforests are found on every continent across the Earth, except Antarctica.
- Fact: There are two major types of rainforest: temperate rainforests and tropical rainforests.
- Fact: The largest temperate rainforests are found on North America's Pacific Coast and stretch from Northern California up into Canada.
- Fact: Temperate rainforests used to exist on almost every continent in the world, but today only 50 percent – 75 million acres – of these forests remain worldwide.
Facts about the Rainforest as Part of our Global Environment and Well-being:
- Fact: Rainforests act as the world's thermostat by regulating temperatures and weather patterns.
- Fact: One-fifth of the world?s fresh water is found in the Amazon Basin.
- Fact: Rainforests are critical in maintaining the Earth's limited supply of drinking and fresh water.
Facts about the Abundant Life and Important Resources that Rainforests Share with Us:
- Fact: A typical four square mile patch of rainforest contains as many as 1,500 flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 400 species of birds and 150 species of butterflies.
- Fact: Rainforests provide many important products for people: timber, coffee, cocoa and many medicinal products, including those used in the treatment of cancer.
- Fact: Seventy percent of the plants identified by the U.S. National Cancer Institute as useful in the treatment of cancer are found only in rainforests.
- Fact: More than 2,000 tropical forest plants have been identified by scientists as having anti-cancer properties.
- Fact: Less than one percent of the tropical rainforest species have been analyzed for their medicinal value.
Only when we escape this artificial environment do we recognize how strong is our human need for contact with the natural world. There we find energy...for the soul.
Costa Rica has become a Mecca for travelers seeking to escape the stress and tedium of the modern world and the monotony of more conventional vacation destinations.
Here they can slow down, immerse themselves in beauty and establish a link with nature.
Costa Rica is a small mountainous country on the narrow Central American isthmus. It is only a day's drive from the northern border with Nicaragua to neighboring Panama in south, and one could cross from ocean to ocean in only a few hours. But why hurry? There's just too much to see in between.