Costa Rica named 'planet's happiest nation'

22nd Jun 2012

Holidaymakers in search of a truly happy break can't do more than head for Central America after Costa Rica was named the happiest country on the planet.

And if they don't fancy Costa Rica, which means 'rich coast', then Vietnam or Colombia in South America could be just the ticket after they were ranked second and third in the New Economics Foundation's Happy Planet Index.

Lower rankings include New Zealand at number 38 with Australia 86th on the list, which the foundation compiled using data from a Gallup World Poll which asked people how they felt about their lives on a scale of one to 10.

Other factors taken into account included countries' life expectancy and their ecological footprint, the land area needed to sustain its way of life.

The foundation said though the index was not the only measure of a country's success it was still a valid indicator of the state of a nation. It said: "By only using indicators like GDP to measure success we are not accounting for what really matters, producing happy lives for people now and in the future.''

Costa Rica, which attracts those taking tailor made holidays and private journeys through Central America, is popular as an eco-tourist destination and is known for its rainforests, beaches and rich wildlife.

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