As a native Costa Rican and as Wildland Adventures Costa Rica program director I enjoy sharing facts about my country. Below are 7 things you should know about Costa Ricans before you visit.
1. Hola Tico: Costa Ricans call themselves Ticos and Ticas.
2. No Army: We feel very proud that we have no standing army and we want everyone to know! It was constitutionally abolished in 1949.
3. Pura Vida: It is our national saying, which means “pure life,” a sunny, feel good expression used as a greeting, goodbye, or if someone asks how you are doing.
4. Gallo Pinto: We love it! Gallo Pinto (rice and beans with herbs) is a stable dish of our diet that we can eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here is my recipe for Gallo Pinto.
5. Sorry Google Maps: We don’t move around by street signs, nor addresses with streets and avenues in Costa Rica. Our address system is still from the Mango Tree in San Rafael, 100 meters South and 200 meters West! Or just across the street from the former Chilean Embassy, that’s my address if you want to visit!
6. Pulperias, sodas and panaderias: We still have a lot of small businesses that give you a cozy feeling from buying local. We call small grocery stores pulperias and sometimes they are no bigger than 80 square feet. We also have mini restaurants called sodas, sometimes with only 4 or 5 little tables and are where you can find the best empanadas de queso (cheese empanadas). In addition you can always find fresh bread at one of the local panaderias (bakery). These local stores are something as a tica I appreciate and want to preserve in our culture.
7. Feria Del agriculture and various organics: These are our farmer's markets and something we all really enjoy here. The outdoor markets are where you can find all the great organic products, such as: cassava, pejivalles, heart of palm, fresh made plantain/sweet potato/taro/corn chips, tiquisque, chayote root, and lots of exotic fruits. We are blessed to live in the tropics and have such variety of fruits and vegetables and what better than helping our own farmers directly!