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Costa Rica is a small Central American nation that shelters five percent of the world's biodiversity. Expect to see gorgeous orchids, colorful birds and butterflies, howler monkeys, and maybe even the elusive margay, a spotted nocturnal cat that lives in the rain forest. In addition to natural beauty, there's a lot to love about a place that hasn't had an army since 1949. Ticos (as locals are called) are generally fun and friendly and love to share their country, which has managed to avoid the conflicts that have devastated neighboring nations.