Christopher Columbus called it the "rich coast" – a strip of land that straddles the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. But Costa Rica's rich natural beauty is threatened by the over-exploitation of its resources and by mono-culture farming. Huge banana- and pineapple plantations have reduced the country's natural bio-diversity – but activists are now trying to preserve what's left of it. Costa Rica is a natural paradise that combines distinctive geography and a wide variety of plant- and animal species. About a quarter of the country's land has been designated as natural parks or other protected areas. Eco-tourism is booming.