Country of the Month: Costa Rica!
Traversing through ice-covered sidewalks. Bundled in layer after layer after layer. Losing feeling in your nose. Haven’t seen the sun in ages. And as you expose your bare hand to the ice-cold winds to reach for the door, you think of that commercial, “Want to get away?”. You answer quietly to yourself, “Yes!” Trust us, this post will help let your mind escape to warmer times because we will be learning about Costa Rica!
Costa Rica is truly the opposite of the midwest. Powerful beach waves, sun year-round, tropical rainforests, and warmth. Its name, meaning “rich coast,” alludes and perfectly describes all the wonders Costa Rica offers to both its people and tourists.
Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1502, various small and autonomous indigenous tribes inhabited the area. And their reaction was different than the other Latin American countries at the time. They greeted Columbus with various riches and gold items, most likely prompting him to name the land Costa Rica (based on a familiar story). However, he had set his eyes on another region, making Columbus leave the peaceful area. European travelers attempted to take over but found it challenging. So it wasn’t until 60 years later that Spanish settlers established their first permanent settlement of Catago.
The rise of Costa Rica’s economy was slow. Primarily due to the small labor force the Spanish had access to and required for growth. Large portions of the indigenous population died due to disease and harsh conditions. While others fled to the inner jungles for safety. Costa Rica did gain their independence and, in 1821, joined the Mexican Empire, only to later leave in 1823. Today, Costa Rica has a stable economy due to their focus on tourism.
Nestled in Central America, Costa Rica has access to various fruits and vegetables. Their cuisine is colorful and inspired by their neighbors. Try some of the following flavor-packed meals!
Available through Casa To Go with your subscription! This is a Tico (word used for Costa Ricans) breakfast staple. Rice is mixed alongside red beans, red peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro, and lizano sauce. Accompany this dish with a side of eggs, cheese, or sweet plantains.
Olla de Carne
This warm and hearty soup will surely make you warm this winter. Olla de Carne is a stew made with beef and various fresh vegetables. Easy for families to enjoy together.
This dish varies from place to place. Casado typically is white rice, beans, your choice of meat, and three other sides. Sides may include salad, fruits, fries, eggs, tortillas, etc.
This traditional bean soup is healthy, nutritious, and provides Ticos with plenty of energy throughout the day. Sopa Negra’s base is black beans and various light vegetables to give it a more complex flavor.
Largest National Park System
To protect its beautiful wildlife, Costa Rica created the most extensive National Park system based on their country’s size. Restoration and protection efforts began in 1970 and have directly led to their economic stability. Visitors can experience the pura vida through long hikes or sitting by the beach.
Lastly, we would like to recognize our staff from Costa Rica! Thank you so much for bringing your joy to Casa and sharing it with our little ones. You have contributed so much to our program and have taught us to strive for a happy and fulfilling life.
Ms. Nina: Assistant Teacher
Mr. Brian: Assistant Teacher