Gap Year Team #ISLGAPYEAR2017
Gap Year Teams
Costa Rica (“rich coast” in Spanish) is a Central American country bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, Nicaragua and Panama. Costa Rica has become one of the most stable, democratic, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America. It permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming the first of a few sovereign nations without a standing army. While Costa Rica is known for its coffee and tropical fruit exports, tourism is now the largest industry. 25% of the country’s land area is protected—one of the largest percentages in the world. From tropical Cloud Forests to Volcanoes to Beaches, Costa Rica is truly rich in geographical and bio diversity.
Costa Rica’s poverty rate is lower than most Latin American countries, but it has stalled at around 20% for almost two decades. Even so, according to Habitat for Humanity, more than 52% of the population lives in substandard houses or settlements. Costa Rica also has a large number of poverty stricken immigrants, mostly Nicaraguans. These are the communities where ISL volunteers serve. Costa Rica is good first country to visit for those who have not been exposed to extreme poverty before.