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It was the great Christopher Columbus who discovered Costa Rica, this being on his fourth voyage to the west. The Spaniards named it Costa Rica meaning "rich coast". But before that, Carib people among a few other tribes, were living on the land for potentially up to 10,000 years prior to Columbus' virgin visit.
But Spain did not hold the same interest in Costa Rica as it did for other of its colonies. The land did not offer precious metals and its jungles were challenging their style of civiliazation.
In the early 1800s, Mexico rebelled against Spain, sparking Costa Rica to do the same. But the area was divided in this decision causing some civil turmoil. But, 1986 brought on more stable times, as Costa Rica elected their first president, Oscar Arias Sanchez who vowed to bring peace to the country and promote better relations among Central America. His leadership was honored on an international level when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987.
Tamarindo, in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica is arguably the country's best tourist destination because of its gorgeous beaches. The town did not see much political action during the major growth periods of Costa Rica, rather was a quiet fishing town, today a hub of tourist activity.