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World's countries : Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio National Park
photograph by Steven Thériault

Manuel Antonio National Park

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_Antonio_National_Park

Manuel Antonio National Park, in Spanish the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, is a small National Park in the Central Pacific Conservation Area located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, just south of the city of Quepos, Puntarenas, and 132 km (82 mi) from the national capital of San José. Established in 1972 with a land area enumerating 1 983 ha (the smallest of any Costa Rican national park), it is the destination of as many as 150,000 visitors annually and well known for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails. In 2011, Manuel Antonio was listed by Forbes among the world's 12 most beautiful national parks.[1]

Manzanillo Bay
photograph by Dirk Walter

Costa Rica

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa_rica

Costa Rica (Listeni/ˌkstə ˈrkə/; Spanish: [ˈkosta ˈrika]; literally meaning, "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica (Spanish: República de Costa Rica), is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 4.5 million, of whom nearly a quarter live in the metropolitan area of the capital and largest city, San José.

Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous people before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century. It remained a peripheral colony of the empire until independence as part of the short-lived First Mexican Empire, followed by membership in the United Provinces of Central America, from which it formally declared sovereignty in 1847. Since then, Costa Rica has remained among the most stable, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America. Following a brief but bloody civil war, it permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming the first of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army.[7][8][9]

Costa Rica has consistently performed favorably in the Human Development Index (HDI), placing 62nd in the world as of 2012, among the highest of any Latin American nation.[10] It has also been cited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as having attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, with a better record on human development and inequality than the median of the region.[11] Its rapidly developing economy, once heavily dependent on agriculture, has diversified to include sectors such as finance, pharmaceuticals, and ecotourism.

Playa Hermosa
photograph by JuanCa Zuniga (Visual Costa Rica)

Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playa_Hermosa,_Costa_Rica

Playa Hermosa, located in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica, is a popular beach and beach-front resort town.

People who visit Playa Hermosa can indulge in swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving, sport fishing or sailing.

Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste Province is not to be confused with Playa Hermosa, Puntarenas Province. That Playa Hermosa is a popular surfing destination.[1]