Costa Rica Culture and History
Costa Rica meaning “rich coast” was named after Christopher Columbus on his 4th journey, he noticed that the local Indians that lived on the coast possessed lots of gold and were greeted by them with precious things which immediately made them think that this was a rich land.
Costa Rica was conquered by the Spanish which made many indigenous people leave the area to more isolated places or to different countries. Sickness was brought into the country by the Spanish, which reduced the amount of indigenous in Costa Rica and killing many of them, which they were an estimate of 400.000 of them in the time. Costa Rica’s population now consists of 1% indigenous people and 99% Spanish and mixed.
Independence of Costa Rica
Costa Rica became independent from Spain just like all the rest of Central America, thanks to the Mexican war of Independence that also allowed the independence of the rest of Central America. Which marked the entire history of Latin America, becoming individual countries.
Costa Rica removed it’s army permanently on 1949, creating a country of peace and investing much more in education, there is a very low rate of analphabetism of 4.4% of the population which is extremely low if you compare it with other countries in the rest of the world. Costa Rica is also considered to be the safest country in Latin America. They call themselves “ticos” and their most common expression is “pura vida” which means pure life, stating that everything is all right, and nicely lived. It’s a statement that everything is alright, “ticos” always consider that they are pura vida because they have a different mentality by thinking that there will always be someone less fortunate than them, which means that they are all right and blessed with what they already have.
The culture in Costa Rica is more of a laid back country, where they appreciate what mother earth has provided to them. If you visit different areas in the country you can see changes, just like the city and the country side. Costa Rica has it’s city side which can seem busy, but might not be as busy as main cities all over the world because of the fact that Costa Rican’s have a different mentality of life. You will think that you want to live in an area that’s all made of concrete and service will be there in less than a minute. Costa Rican’s are more used to having a slower pace of life and enjoy the moments, if you are served fast, you are expected to leave fast. In this case they prefer to wait and enjoy the moment, instead of rushing all the time. In the main cities, parks are places strategically so you can escape from work, relax and enjoy nature, trees and animals while on a break .
There are many cultural activities in Costa Rica, they have the famous “topes” which are horse parades in every city during the afternoon or even sometimes at night time. Also there are carnivals in every city from time to time, in these events you will always see an area where local typical food is served. In the past years you’ll notice that they are starting to implement other types of food on these festivals like hamburgers and hot dogs that aren’t local but have become very famous due to it’s high demand and easy preparation.
In regards to Costa Ricans attitude, they are very friendly and non-confrontational. Service might be slower, but you will always be served with a smile.