Basic things you should know about Costa Rican culture

The people of Costa Rica are known as "ticos".

Costa Rica is known for its natural features, especially its beaches and volcanoes. It is a relatively calm and safe country.

The culture of Costa Rica is diverse since it has its roots in both Indigenous and European traditions, and is influenced by Afro-Caribbean and Asian cultures as well.

Its food is also very diverse. Some of the country's most famous dishes are:
a. Gallo Pinto (a mix of rice and beans, usually eaten for breakfast)
b. "El Casado" ["The Married Man"] (a dish made of rice, beans, sweet plantains, vegetables and the meat of your choice)
c. Arroz con Pollo [Rice with Chicken]
d. Picadillos (combinations of different kinds of meat and vegetables)
e. Agua Dulce [Sweet Water] (a drink made from sugar cane)

The most important national celebrations and holidays are:
January 1st - New Year's Day
Holy Week (Holy Thursday and Good Friday)
May 1st - Labor Day
July 25th - Annexation of Nicoya
August 2nd - Virgin of the Angels Day
August 15th - Mother's Day
September 15th - Independence Day
October 12th - Day of the Cultures
December 25th - Christmas Day

In Costa Rica there is freedom of religion, meaning that the people have the right to practice different religions. The vast majority of the population is Catholic.

The way that addresses are given in Costa Rica is quite unique. Instead of referring to streets and avenues, addresses are given using cardinal directions from different landmarks and points of reference. It will take some time for you to get used to the addresses in Costa Rica.

Speaking like a "tico"

Ticos speak using "usted" or "vos". Ticos do not typically use "tú". Here are some popular words from Costa Rica:

• Chunche: anything with a difficult or unfamiliar name
• Macho, macha: a person with blond hair
• Brete: work
• Vacilón: something fun
• Pachuco: vulgar person or language
• Varas: excuses, pretexts
• Pinche: stingy, cheap
• Pelón: bald
• Rojo: one thousand colones
• Lata: bus

Some popular Costa Rican expressions:

"Pura Vida": The phrase that Costa Rica is known for worldwide. Depending on the context, it can mean hello, thanks, good, and more.
"Upeehh": An expression used when knocking on a door.
“Por dicha” : Luckily
“¿Le cuadra?” : Do you like it?
“¡Soque!” : Hurry!
“Un toque” : One moment


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