Lectures on Costa Rica
The trip for class included lectures on Costa Rica from Dr. Alfonso Mata.
Dr. Mata, shown at right in Picture 5.1, is a consultant from the Tropical
Here is his outline plus our summaries:
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
Amy Bradford happened to attend the trip with us. We were delighted when
she offered to give us an introduction to conversational Spanish. We
learned about some of the basics of counting, making introductions, ordering
breakfast, and working with Costa Rican money (colones). Our thanks to
Amy for her time and humor. We were especially thrilled that Lola decided
to join in on our class. (Sorry, for those that did not attend, we cannot
explain that comment.)
Joe, with the help of Wendy, led us on daily walks, kayak trips and jeep
tours to see the area, pointing out the natural beauty of the area and
showing us why Nosara is so special to him. Joe has an Associate of Science
in Environmental Marine Science Technology. He has spent time doing environmental
studies and water quality profiles. His concern for education goes back
to his stay in Key West, Florida. There he worked with the local community
college through students and internships. Working with nature is fun and
rewarding; Joe is the first to attest to that.
Joe said, "I thought the week was a success and would jump at the
opportunity to expand on the idea and make it more enjoyable and up the
educational content. It was a positive experience for me and I hope your
group as well."
Suggestions for the Next Class's
It would be impossible to even assume that we could cover all information about
Costa Rica from five days of lectures and nine days of travel. So, we have attempted
to include some of the overview of the area of Nosara and some of the excitement
we experienced. Collectively, the five team members gathered a list of questions
that the next class might attempt to answer, developing further this website
or creating their own.
- What types of transportation are common in Costa Rica? What percentage of
the population uses public transportation?
- We saw many buses transporting large numbers of people. We also saw
that some had trucks or cars. It seemed that the majority moved by walking.
Is this true or did it just seem that way since so few travel far by foot
- What are the types of food and drink that are enjoyed by the ticos?
- There were chickens everywhere, so eggs was a common breakfast. So was
Gallo Pinto (a beans and rice mixture). For evening meals, we had pizza
often (and boy, was it good!) and ethnic foods like Italian and Greek.
Is this common, or was it a "tourist" thing?
- What do the Ticos do for entertainment?
- Some of the Americans living in Nosara told us that they often attend
local dances and that now and then there is a rodeo nearby where they
can try their hand at bull riding Many Ticos had televisions and most
seemed to have telephones. These provide some forms of entertainment,
but what else?
- What languages are spoken in Costa Rica?
- Most of the Ticos we came into contact with spoke Spanish. Some also
spoke English very well. What other languages are native and in what parts
of their country?
- How many different types of birds, mammals and insects are native to Costa
Rica? How does that compare to the U.S.? How many are found in both countries?
- We saw only one Toucan and it was caged. In the areas we visited, we
saw no brightly colored parrots and only saw one blue jay (although he
was quite a beautiful sight). Where in Costa Rica are these animals more
- Is the attempt to save animals likely to endanger them?
- Some Gringos are known to help protect and raise baby monkeys who are
found with their dead mothers. Does that put mothers at risk of being
killed to sell the babies?
- More people are buying land in Nosara, this encourages building, which
takes away wild areas and animals homes. How much of the wild areas have
been cleared in the past 10 years? What is the prospect for the next 10
years? 20 years? How will the animals be affected by this plan?
- What is typical Tico family life like?
- Are there any other industries that could help Costa Rica economically and
not make them so dependent upon farming?
- Why was Costa Rica founded? Of what country was it initially a part? What
year did it gain its independence? When, why and how did it become a democratic
- How is Costa Rica's climate?
- Costa Rica is a tropical country that contains several distinct climatic
zones such as Pacific Coast, Central Valley, and Caribbean Coast. There
is no winter or summer as such and most regions have a rainy season from
May to November and a dry season from December to April. Annual rainfall
averages 100 inches nationwide with some mountainous regions getting as
much as 25 feet on exposed eastern slopes. Temperature is more a matter
of elevation than location with a mean of around 72 degrees in the Central
Valley, 82 degrees on the Atlantic coast and 89 degrees on the Pacific
- When people visit Costa Rica, do they need a Visa?
- Citizens of the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Panama,
Romania, South Korea, Uruguay, the UK and most Western European countries
do not need a visa for a 90-day stay. Citizens of Australia, Ireland,
France, Iceland, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Vatican
City and most of Eastern Europe and Latin America can stay 30 days without
a visa. If you do need a visa, it will cost US$20 from a Costa Rican consulate.
Go to the notes on
the lectures on Costa Rica.
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