Map of the Americas

I get questions, I have conversations, and I see glaring errors on travel websites. All of these centered around two very outrageous misconceptions about Costa Rica. If you live in Costa Rica or are in the travel/tourism business, I feel it is imperative that you know these two facts. I even made pretty pictures to help illustrate these truths:

  1. Costa Rica is not in South America.

    Costa Rica is in Central America, which is part of the North American continent (or American Continent). Is it really that hard to Google this information before publishing a website?

  2. Costa Rica is not a Third World country.

    Costa Rica in the Human Development Index graph

    Costa Rica (green) in the Human Development Index graph

    The term “Third World” was born in the 1960s and was used to refer to states that did not align with capitalist (led by the USA) or communist states (led by the Soviet Union). After the Cold War ended and developing countries exhibited increased economic competitiveness, the term lost its original meaning. It died with the Cold War, folks.
    Welcome to the 21st century where the term “Third World” now refers to the poorest countries in the world in terms of income, health, and education. Costa Rica has it’s problems, but it is not one of the poorest countries in the world. Costa Rica is a blue zone (Nicoya Peninsula), every citizen has access to free education, the literacy rate is 96%, and tourism is the prime industry as opposed to farming. Costa Rica is considered a high developing country and is ranked 62 out of 169 in the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index.

So hopefully I cleared some things up for some people. If not, oh well, pura vida.