The country is home to proud, friendly, and peaceful citizens known as ticos (men) and ticas (women). They are usually conservative but they enjoy sharing their life and social activities with new people. Most Costa Ricans have a European heritage with some indigenous mixture, and there is a small indigenous minority. Ticos have a strong self-image, they are very nationalistic and proud of their country, but not in an aggressive way. They expect people to act humble and value, as they do, democracy, peace and political freedom.
Families in Costa Rica are close. The responsibility of managing the house and supervising the children typically belongs to the wife, even if she has an outside job, while the husband is usually engaged in work outside the home. Costa Rican teenagers help around the house when their studies permit, but the chores are not considered their responsibility.
Sharing is a given within the family. The sense of strictly personal belongings is not as strong as in some other countries. Siblings often use each other’s clothes and personal items without asking permission first. Private life is shared within the family, but generally not outside it. It is very common for girls to kiss each other or friends/relatives of the opposite sex on the cheek as hello and good-bye greetings, while boys shake hands, pat shoulders and sometimes embrace.
Costa Rican teens go out together in groups; they enjoy movies, dancing, parties at friends’ homes and sports. Soccer is the most popular sport, although it is played almost exclusively by men. Many people enjoy basketball, volleyball, swimming, tennis or fitness training. Local carnivals and festivals are popular.
The basic Costa Rican diet is rice, beans, corn, vegetables, meat, chicken or fish and is usually served with corn tortillas. The diet also includes fresh fruit, milk, fruit juices, dairy products and eggs. Especially during weekends, it is customary for the whole family to eat the same foods at meals together. It is a time to be enjoyed together and spent as a family. On working days, this is often more difficult, especially for families where both parents work.
Spanish is the primary language in Costa Rica as well as English and Creole English. About 75% of the country is Roman Catholic.