Costa Rica’s Presidential Election 2022

A new record was hit in Costa Rica! The largest number ever of presidential candidates ran this year. Out of 25 candidates, Rodrigo Chaves won the Presidential Election of 2022. Although this didn’t happen with one shot. Did having so many options to choose from make this presidential election particularly difficult?

During the first round of voting on February 6th, out of 3,541,908 registered voters only 1,818,725 voted. This means that over 50% of the voting population did not vote. So many voters felt overwhelmed and undecided about which candidate they believed in.

With a total of 25 candidates, Figueres received 27.26% of the vote and Chaves 16.70%. The president of Costa Rica is elected using a modified two-round system. For a candidate to win they must receive at least 40% of the vote in the first round. If no candidate wins in the first round, a runoff will be held between the two candidates with the biggest quantity of votes.

Round 2 was a definite nail biter. Especially since 73.94% of voters did not vote for either Presidential candidate. It was up to citizens who didn’t particularly care for either to pick which president they disliked less.

In the second round the turnout for voters was only a little bit better. Out of the 3,541,908 registered voters only 1,927,270 voted. Only a 55% voter turnout… Even after all the encouragement from the government and media to go out and voteRodrigo Chaves president of Costa Rica. After all, it’s the citizens responsibility to care for the country and its democracy.

Finally they tallied the votes… it was a close one! Rodrigo Chaves had 52.84% of the votes and Jose Maria Figueres had 47.16%. The people of Costa Rica chose Rodrigo Chaves of the Social Democratic Progress Party (PPSD) to shake up traditional party politics.

Many Costa Ricans eager for a change said they were looking for a break with the politicians of the past. They feared that Figueres, who comes from a very well known political family, would continue with the ideology of the past.

Only time will tell if Costa Ricans made the right decision. Is shaking up the most stable political system in Central America the right way to go? Will this solve the widespread discontent in the country? Can Chaves inspire the Costa Rican people to once again have hope in their government and become more active members?

Let’s hope so… because this year’s turnout was the lowest in decades as voters expressed frustration with Costa Rica’s struggling economy due to the global pandemic. As Presidential Elections seem to become more and more difficult across the world, always remember it is your responsibility as a citizen to stay involved and participate. Illustration of a vote in a presidential election

Costa Rica’s Environmental Initiatives

April 22nd is Earth Day! Every year since 1970, the world celebrates Earth Day to demonstrate support for environmental protection. In the spirit of being green, let’s learn about some of Costa Rica’s environmental initiatives

Photo of rainforest plants in Costa Rica

Costa Rica prides itself on being a green and ecological country. Even pioneering ecotourism in Latin America! Small yet mighty, Costa Rica has already protected 28% of its land and 30% of its territorial waters. This is especially important for a country that holds an estimated 5% of the world’s biodiversity! 

Creating protected areas is just one small piece of Costa Rica’s big green picture. In 2021, Costa Rica banned all single-use plastic products such as disposable bags,Egret in Costa Rica cutlery, straws, cups, coffee lids, stirrers, and bottles. Styrofoam was also on the hit list. On July 15th 2021, the importation and sale of styrofoam was also banned. 

Since 2002, Costa Rica no longer permits oil and gas exploration and exploitation. This decree has been extended to 2050 and has kept oil and gas companies out of Costa Rica. The Legislative Assembly is working hard to turn this decree into a law to ensure a sustainable future. 

Costa Rica is also one of the first tropical countries to end deforestation! In 1987, the deforestation was so terrible it led to nearly half of the country’s forest cover being lost. Things had to change and Costa Rica actually reversed its loss of nature. Almost 75% of Costa Rica’s land is once again covered in forest and jungle. This reforestation effort was such a success that Costa Rica was awarded the Earthshot Prize in 2021. 

Costa Rica environmental initiatives

On to some more great environmental initiatives! Since 2014, Costa Rica has been a global leader in renewable energy use. Over 98% of Costa Rica’s electricity comes from 100% renewable resources! Incredible resources such as rivers, volcanoes, wind, and solar power generate electricity for this beautiful country.

Striving to always be forward thinking, Costa Rica has undertaken many initiatives to start becoming a carbon neutral country. The transportation sector, which is one of Costa Rica’s larger carbon producing sectors, has acquired 322 electric vehicles for their government institutions. Costa Rica has made progress in sustainable construction. As of 2021, 736 buildings and 29 municipalities have received the Ecological Blue Flag Award. The goal is to be carbon neutral by 2050. 

Currently, Costa Rica is taking the leading role in many global environmental initiatives. The first is the 30×30 initiative that proposes to protect 30% of the planet’s ecosystems by 2030. The next environmental initiative involves Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama and Colombia. These countries announced the strengthening of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor. They intend for this area to become a Transboundary Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO. Costa Rica is always eager to participate in initiatives that will lead to a greener world. 

White faced monkey with baby in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s green reputation is well deserved. It is a country that strives to do what is right for future generations and for the preservation of natural beauty. Costa Rica understands the value of nature. After all, what is a trip to Costa Rica without seeing any of the incredible flora and fauna this country has to offer. 

Dry Season Flowering Trees

Believe it or not… the dry season actually bursts with color! The hot arid weather brings about the most spectacular blooms. During the dry season you have stunning blue skies, crystal clear aquamarine waters, perpetual sunshine and an endless display of colorful flowering treesFlowering trees during the dry season in Costa Rica

The Yellow Cortez Amarillo

Let’s start with the gorgeous sunny yellow blooms. The Cortez Amarillo (Tabebuia Ochracea) is a crowd favorite here in Costa Rica! It puts on a short but spectacular display that only lasts about 4-5 days. Synchronizing with all the Cortez Amarillos growing in the area, the hills become speckled with pops of golden yellow. Not only is it beautiful to us but the monkeys and hummingbirds crowd around this tree to enjoy this short lived bloom. 

Cortez Amarillo blooms on the ground in Costa Rica

The Caña Fistula (Cassia fistula) or golden shower tree blooms almost all summer. These glowing flowers hang down like long pendulums and cover the entire tree in yellow! Almost no leaves can be found when this flower is in full bloom. This golden rain sends a signal for all the butterflies and bees to flock to this tree. 

Red Malinche and Poró

Next, let’s check out these red hot flowers. Often called the flame of the forest, the Malinche (Delonix Regia) tree is an incredible sight! These scarlet flowers are a definite show stopper. Beautiful and useful, the tree’s umbrella shape and quick growth make it a perfect shade tree. You can enjoy these exquisite blooms and very medicinal seed pods the Malinche has to offer during the hot dry season.

Blossoming Malinche, one of the many flowing trees of Costa Rica

When you spot a grouping of Poró (Erythrina poeppigiana) trees, there may be a coffee or cocoa plantation nearby! Porós are often used as shade trees in these plantations. This tree is often even called madre de cacao or mother of cacao. The bright red Poró flowers are edible and can be enjoyed in a refreshing salad. 

The Pink Cortez Negro 

On to the next color speckled in the dry Guanacaste hills. The Cortez Negro (Handroanthus Impetiginosus) explodes with thousands of beautiful pink flowers! Pollinators rejoice over these blooms and swarm to collect the delicious nectar. This tall, slow growing tree has extremely valuable lumber along with medicinal bark. 

Beautiful pink flowers of the Cortez Negro tree

Imagine giant pink pom poms on the end of every branch. That’s exactly what the Roble de Sabana (Tabebuia Rosea) looks like when it bursts with blooms. This showy tree is actually a very important timber tree in Central America with a variety of uses. Flowering occurs mainly in January and February, make sure you catch a glimpse of this incredible tree! 

At first glance the dry season is very deceiving. Majority of the trees and plants look completely dried up! But when the right time comes, they burst at the seams with the most extravagant colors. Come check out this incredible spectacle in the Guanacaste region! 

Semana Santa in Costa Rica

Semana Santa is the week leading up to Easter Sunday, and it’s a BIG deal here in Costa Rica! Safe to say, it is one the most important holidays in the country. Almost every Tico has the week off of work and the kids are out of school. The celebrations and festivities are endless!

Costa Rica’s population is 76% Catholic, hence the reason why Semana Santa is especially important to the culture. This week-long celebration is centered around religious processions, prayers, mass, traditions, and spending time with the entire family.

Religious Traditions

In every town, the Catholic Church organizes events to take place on Holy Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. One of the most important religious traditions is the grand procession which is a reenactment of Jesus going to the cross. People from all over Costa Rica travel to Cartago on Friday to witness the biggest procession in the country.

When traveling around, you may notice purple-draped crosses in many front yards or on houses. The purple represents Jesus and then switches to black drapes on Good Friday and white drapes on Easter Sunday. These decorations are important for practicing Catholics.


Many Costa Ricans believe that you should not swim in the ocean on Holy Thursday or Good Friday. If you do, God will become angry and turn you into a fish! Or climbing a tree may cause you to grow a tail…

Another superstition involves an indigenous fig tree. At midnight on Good Friday the Higueron de cabuya blooms but Satan hides in the tree. If you are able to pluck a flower without the devil noticing then you will win the next lottery and be rich forever!

It is also rumored that hot weather causes more earthquakes to happen. On the bright side, Semana Santa is also thought to be the week with the most beautiful sunsets! Pacific sunset in Costa Rica

Semana Santa Foods

Due to Holy traditions, many Ticos do not consume any pork or beef during Semana Santa. Instead families enjoy plenty of fish. Arroz y frijoles con  (Rice and beans with fish) and ceviche are the main dishes on the menu.

Chiverre is another staple of Semana Santa. This large squash is in season for the holidays and ends up as a filling for various pastries or empanadas. The preparation of chiverre can take days!

In Guanacaste, many take advantage of all the mangoes in season. Families gather these juicy fruits and make mango marmalade. Sweets are a definite favorite for Semana Santa!


The Beach

An estimated 1.5 million Ticos visit the beach for Semana Santa! For those who aren’t very religious, Semana Santa is also the time for partying. You will see a mass exodus to the beach from the central valley. Be prepared for crowded beaches, packed restaurants, and plenty of traffic!

Semana Santa is one of the busiest weeks of the year. Make sure to be well stocked on groceries and have your reservations in place. As long as you don’t mind large crowds of people, Semana Santa is a very exciting week. It is one of the best times to experience traditional Costa Rican foods, culture, and celebration.