Costa Rica is known for its civilized way of life. It is no exaggeration to call the country an oasis of peace. This a fundamental part of the Costa Rican character.
Costa Rica is the seat of the University for Peace as well as the Inter American Court of Human Rights. This fact empathizes the trust placed in the country´s political and social stability by the international community. Costa Ricans are characterized by three distinct cultural life styles that of the peasants and farmers of the Central Valley, of the inhabitants of the plains of Guanacaste and of the Caribbeans of the Province of Limón. Their ethnic origins are a mixture, being a blend of the native inhabitants of the area (although to a lesser extent than in other Central American countries), of the Spanish colonists and of Afro-Caribbean immigrants which began entering as of the last century.
The Costa Rica is both friendly and hospitable, the obvious product of his freedom. Costa Rica is one of the oldest democracies in America, as well as being a free and independent republic. Its inhabitants not only enjoy complete political stability, but also their nation´s long-standing commitment to democratic freedom.
Peace is the most precious possession of Costa Rica´s people. The country abolished its army in 1949, the police force is sufficient to protect the citizens. Costa Rica was twice nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and this was awarded in 1987, to the incumbent President of the Republic, Dr. Oscar Arias. This award was a truly merited recognition of the Costa Rican way of life.
The social impact of this democratic tradition is easily seen. In 1869 a compulsory public education system was established, one that involves public institutions at all levels. In this, the government supplies the necessary funds for medical and educational programs; both services having achieved outstanding success. Due to the educational efforts, 98% of the adult population is literate. Medical services, especially in the area of preventive medicine, have reached high levels of achievement in both rural and urban areas. Life expectancy is between 72-75 years of age, an excellent average for Latin America.