Puerto Caldera Cruises
Among the first inhabitants of Costa Rica were the Guymi Indians, who greeted Columbus when he arrived in the early 16th century. The Spaniards brought many diseases to the Indians, many of whom died quickly. Spain colonized the area in 1506, but the Indians successfully forced them off their land. Several additional failed attempts by the Spanish to colonize Costa Rica followed until 1563 when Spanish governor Juan Vasquez de Coronado arrived. Costa Rica's independence was established in 1821, and coffee trade flourished. The first president of this country was coffee grower Juan Rafael Mora, who was well respected for his military efforts and credited with the rapid growth of the economy. From Costa Rica's central coastal city of Puerto Caldera visitors can explore the mountainous countryside and travel inland to the cosmopolitan capital of San Jose.