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THE ONLY COUNTRY WITHOUT AN ARMY 12135 KM / DAY 143 / AUGUST 6, 2011 - 08:28 / SAN JOSE, COSTARICA
Costa Rica is a small country in Central America, known for its beauty and hospitality. Somehow it always managed to stay away from the turmoil surrounding countries endured or still endure. Maybe because it`s the only country in the world which doesn`t have an army? Arriving in Costa Rica does feel different. Here it feels friendly, even in traffic people seem to be polite.
That I`m closer to the USA is also clear; San Jose`s horizon is polluted by McDonalds and Burger King signs, opposite my hotel is a Subway sandwich shop and a Hooters restaurant! The economy is doing not bad at all and the news of falling US and European stock exchanges feels like news from another planet. This has made Costa Rica into a desirable migration destination and over the years many Americans and Europeans decided to retire here. With a population of only four million, Costa Rica has one of the highest number of immigrants per capita in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Nicaraguans make up the biggest group of immigrants; an estimated 350,000 live here. They come to work on the coffee, banana and pineapple plantations, as well as construction and domestic work - they are the engine of the Costa Rican economy. I am working in two areas where most residents are Nicaraguan. Although the country is relatively prosperous, these areas are not.
DAY 363 FINAL DESTINATION