¬°Bienvenidos! Welcome to Costa Rica!

I love take-offs and landings. Approaching Costa Rica, I got a bird’s eye view of the land below. The landscape ranges from thick, green forests and farmlands to collections of islands surrounded by crystal blue waters. As I descended, I saw San Jose emerging through the trees below. I wonder what new people and places await me here.

Like many countries in South and Central America, Costa Rica’s history is influenced by Spanish conquistadors and the Age of Exploration.

The Age of Exploration began in the early fifteenth century and lasted until the seventeenth century. At this point, Europeans had explored Africa and Asia, and were seeking new trade routes. Spices and tea were extremely valuable, and in some cases, worth more than their weight in gold. These riches motivated explorers to hunt for new route to India and the Far East. Many explorers, including the Spanish, Dutch, French, Portuguese, and English, took to the sea in fierce competition.

Perhaps the most famous voyages are those of Christopher Columbus. Like many others, he was searching for a new, faster trade route to Asia by sailing west. Columbus set off from Spain for the East Indies, but landed in what are now the Bahamas. Columbus called these new islands the “West Indies”.

The Europeans used this opportunity to expand their borders, sending ships to collect valuable commodities and to develop new settlements abroad. While some resources were immediately available, other crops, such as pineapple and sugar cane, were brought from Africa and Asia to these new tropical soils.

Columbus explored Costa Rica’s shores during his fourth voyage, and soon after, Costa Rica became a part of the Spanish colonies in the Americas.