Exploring Costa Rica Culture

Stunning Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, mountains, volcanoes, waterfalls, lakes and islands, Costa Rica is an uber environment-friendly country with a strong commitment to preserving natural resources. Costa Ricans tend to be proud, friendly, and diverse people who enjoy sharing their culture and social activities with newcomers. Costa Rica is the place of pura vida (pure life), a contagious attitude of living life to the fullest. In fact, Costa Rica is the world’s happiest country according to the Happy Planet index!

Costa Ricans call themselves “ticos,” and you’ll often hear them demonstrate their national pride by describing something as “muy tico,” or “very Costa Rican.” Costa Rica does not have a national military, which demonstrates just how ingrained values of democracy, peace, and political freedom are in Costa Rica culture.

Study abroad in Costa Rica Host a Costa Rican student in the U.S.

Costa Rican People

Teenagers in Costa Rica

Ticos are happy and easy-going people, always ready to have fun or laugh at a good joke. They place a great importance on friendship and loyalty towards their friends and family. In Costa Rica culture, the family is the basic element of society. Many young people stay living with their parents even after entering college or becoming financially independent. They usually will not leave the home until they get married, and even then, they will try to remain close to their parents.

Mealtimes are often filled with passionate conversations on a variety of subjects and may be stretched for weekend lunches. Sharing among extended family members is deeply appreciated. Masculine and feminine roles are clearly defined in Costa Rican society, which sometimes includes machismo (the idea that men have more authority than women). This reality has been gradually diminishing in recent years, as more and more women have integrated to the economic and political life of the country and also have become breadwinners.

Reputation is a valuable part of the identity of every Costa Rican family. That is why families pay a lot of attention to what is said about them.

Language and Communication in Costa Rica

Teenagers playing soccer in Costa Rica

Spanish is the primary language spoken in Costa Rica.

Food in Costa Rica

The basic Costa Rican diet is formed by rice and beans, (which most people eat every day), a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit juices, potatoes, eggs, milk, corn (prepared in several ways), cheese and other dairy products are also common. Meat, chicken, pork and fish are also part of the Costa Rican diet, but in many families, these are not everyday products, because of their price.

At the table, Costa Ricans always enjoy active conversation on a variety of subjects. Mealtime is a time to be enjoyed and usually lasts longer than in other countries. A light breakfast (except during weekends), lunch at midday, coffee break during the afternoon and dinner at night is typical in Costa Rica culture. In most Costa Rican homes, lunch is the big meal of the day, but if family members work and go to school, dinner is usually the time to share the comments of the day.

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