Costa rica

The faked passports which saved countless lives in the second world war

In the summer of 1942, the Polish poet Władysław Szlengel made a detour into light verse with ‘The Passports’: ‘I would like to have a Uruguayan passport/ Oh, what a beautiful land it is/ How nice it must feel to be the subject/ Of the land called Uruguay…’ Successive quatrains hymned the joys of Paraguayan, Costa Rican, Bolivian and Honduran citizenship before the final stanza declared that it was only with one of these citizenships that ‘one can live peacefully in Warsaw’.  The joke was serious. Szlengel was a Jewish man living in the Warsaw ghetto; and as Roger Moorhouse’s absorbing new book describes, Latin American passports were, or could

How to see Costa Rica’s true colours

If you’re going to visit Costa Rica, my advice is to steer clear of all the stuff that looks most exciting in the brochure: the zip-wires, the thermal springs and the white-water rafting. I’m not saying you won’t enjoy it. Nor realistically – especially if you’ve kids in tow – are you likely to be able to avoid it. Just be aware, though, that the best bits, as always, are the ones most tourists don’t see. Corcovado National Park in the remote south-west, for example. Well, I say ‘remote’. But actually, oddly enough for a country swathed in rainforest, hardly anywhere is truly inaccessible because of the remarkably good roads