¬°Bienvenidos! Welcome to Costa Rica!

“Hola,” and “Hello,” fellow explorers. Welcome to Costa Rica! My name is Jenny and I’m your guide for this Central American adventure.

I started my journey early this morning in New York City. After about four hours on the plane, I arrived in San Jose. Once off the plane, I showed my passport to an immigration officer. I got a cool stamp that shows I’m welcome in Costa Rica.

Like many countries in South and Central America, Costa Rica’s main language is Spanish. This because of the Spanish explorers that came to the New World during the Age of Exploration.

The Age of Exploration began in the early 15th century and lasted until the 17th century. By this time, Europeans had explored Africa and Asia. The tea and spices from Asia and Africa were very valuable. The demand for these items had European sailors searching for shorter paths to Asia. This shorter path was called the Spice Route

The most famous of these voyages were led by Christopher Columbus. Like many other navigators, Columbus thought he could get to Asia by going around the Earth in the other direction. While everyone went east, he went west. So, Columbus set off from Spain for Asia, but landed in what are now the Bahamas. Columbus called these new islands the “West Indies.” He believed he had landed off the coast of India. Columbus was wrong!

Europeans soon discovered this route didn’t lead to Asia, but to a New World. Even though it wasn’t the shorter sea route they were seeking, it was a new region to explore with new resources to export and sell. Soon, fleets of ships from Europe arrived to collect valuable products like gold, chocolate, and corn. They also brought new plants from Africa and Asia, like pineapple and sugar cane. These crops were able to grow in the tropical soil in New World, but not in Europe.

The Age of Exploration changed the shape of the world we know today.