The Korea Herald


Costa Rica happiest Latin American country: report

By Joel Lee

Published : March 19, 2018 - 16:57

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Costa Rica has been ranked the happiest country in Latin America, according to the United Nations’ Happiness Report 2018.

The Central American nation was 13th out of 156 countries surveyed in the report, which placed Finland at the top.

The report looked at factors associated with well-being: income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity.

“Amongst the reasons why Costa Rica consistently ranks high in happiness is our historic decision to abolish the army in 1949,” said the Costa Rican Embassy in Seoul.

“The resources that would otherwise have gone into maintaining and purchasing military weapons have been directed to causes promoting our people’s prosperity. Furthermore, Costa Ricans have universal access to health care as well as primary and secondary education. Our government provides many services that satisfy the basic needs of our citizens.”

Corruption levels in Costa Rica are perceived to be among the lowest in Latin America, alongside Chile and Uruguay, the diplomatic mission said. Costa Rica is also recognized internationally for its environment-friendly policies, with nearly all of its electricity generated from renewable sources.

“Costa Rica is an ideal place for ecotourism, adventure, medical tourism, golf and hot springs, among many other fascinating activities,” it said.

Located between the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is among the world’s leading ecological destinations, with more than 25 percent of its territory devoted to national parks, encompassing rain forests, inactive and active volcanoes, hot springs, islands, beaches, caves, river canyons and waterfalls. Over 52 percent of its land is covered by forests home to rich wildlife and vegetation.

By Joel Lee (