Here is a guanacaste tree, the national tree of Costa Rica. Our northwestern province of Costa Rica is named Guanacaste. These trees have adapted to the long dry season that lasts from December until April. Some of them have branches and leaves that grow all the way to the ground like a giant umbrella.
Only 2% of the original dry forest area is still forested, as the Spanish cleared the land for cattle ranches, such as this pasture. Costa Rica has preserved 25% of its land as national parks and nature preserves, more than any country on earth. The country is planting 5-7 million trees each year to reforest many areas as part of its goal to be the world's first carbon-neutral country.
Our province of Guanacaste, by the way, used to be part of Nicaragua, but voted in the 1820's to be part of Costa Rica instead. That was a smart move, as Nicaragua is a troubled nation, and there are disagreements between Costa Rica and its northern neighbor. Costa Rica does not have any military and has had a stable democracy since 1949. The same cannot be said for Nicaragua.
This week we are showing photos of Norway on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.