Into Costa Rica
Between the wildlife and the nightlife, "the rich coast" lives up to its name
July 20, 1998
Web posted at: 10:03 a.m. EDT (1003 GMT)
From Donna Freydkin
Special to CNN Interactive
(CNN) -- In 1502, Christopher Columbus visited a tiny country in Central America and dubbed it the "rich coast" for the gold worn by the friendly locals. Today, much of Costa Rica's wealth lies in its progressive preservation of its abundant ecology.
Bridging Panama on the southeast and Nicaragua on the north, Costa Rica's attractions range from volatile volcanoes and sleepy sloths. Smaller than West Virginia, it is home to five percent of all the plant and animal species on the planet.
Even if your idea of seeing wildlife is visiting the city zoo, Costa Rica has enough beaches to transform any visitor into an idle iguana. Once the sun sets, the exquisite beaches are transformed into delirious outdoor fiestas as the coastal discotheques blast music and serve icy cervezas.