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The Ticos - What are Costa Ricans like?

I do not think it will surprise anyone at this point saying that Costa Rica is a country that I fell in love with for many reasons, but certainly the way of being of its inhabitants was one of the main ones. In this publication I am going to talk about the Ticos and about how Costa Rican society is. Before starting the story I would like to clarify that this article has been written by a Spanish and supervised by a Costa Rican. Therefore it is not convenient to take it as a sociological guide of the Ticos, but rather as a look at the culture of Costa Rica from the point of view of a tourist. That said, we started.


With only 50,000 square kilometers (the size of Aragon), Costa Rica accounts for 4% of the world's biodiversity. Undoubtedly this is one of the great attractions of the country, and the Ticos know it and take care of it. A love of nature that is perfectly rooted in society, from the political authorities to the ordinary citizen, from parents to children.

Work in Costa Rica

That the United States tries to influence wherever it goes is a reality, and I believe that in the labor market of Costa Rica it becomes clear, for good and for bad. On the positive side, in Costa Rica, titles and experience still hold a lot of weight, and it is possible to succeed if you strive for it. The training continues to open many doors. On the other hand, self-employment is encouraged and there is a palpable entrepreneurial culture. In contrast, and although this is opinionable, they work too much. Weekly they can work up to 48 hours and only have one day of vacation for each month worked. Maybe in Spain we are badly accustomed.


Costa Rica is a traditional country where religion continues to have a fundamental weight with 70% of Catholics related. But beyond the data, the importance of the church becomes visible in the day to day, and between people of any age. It is not uncommon to see young priests or religious groups led by young people. It is also common practice to use such phrases as "God be with you", "I am fine, thank God" or "God willing."

Education of Costa Ricans

If you are traveling to Costa Rica, this will catch your eye. Ticos are educated, a lot. They will always ask you for things "please" and they will give you the "gracias", but also get used to being treated as "you" (or you, depends the area). "Yes, sir" or "Yes, ma'am" are two habitual answers to your calls, and the "Don" or "Doña" the way they have to target older people. "With permission" is also a common expression they use before entering a place or getting off the table. With this high educational level it is not surprising that there customer service is exquisite. Do not be surprised to find a person at the entrance of a restaurant whose only function is to open the door and welcome visitors. It is clear that education is taught at an early age, both at home and at school. Costa Rica can boast of having a highly developed educational system. There are public schools in the last corner of the country and the quality standards are very high. That yes, where they limp a little is on the subject of time management. As is customary in Latin America, their relaxed rhythm of life does not make them especially punctual. So much so that they have their own hour, the ethical time, which comes to mean that for them the time of stay is relative.


A little more I can add here that has not been collected in any of the previous points. Only if you have the opportunity to share a little time with a group of ticos pay much attention to their language and enjoys the large number of colloquial words they use. If you want to know more about costarriqueñismos, check out our Tico dictionary. No waste!

Love for your country

If something I like about the Ticos is that feeling so deep of affection that they have towards their land. You will hardly find locals talking badly about Costa Rica and its inhabitants. Quite the opposite. Costa Ricans know very well their homeland, their culture, their customs, their corners... and they are fully proud of it. If you really want to know what to visit, where to eat, where to sleep... ask someone there.

The importance of the tourist

In close connection with the previous point, Costa Ricans are clear the weight that tourism has on the economic development of the country. Costa Rica receives an average of 500 tourists per 1000 inhabitants, and try to care for each one of them. Ticos are attentive, polite and very respectful of outsiders. The only one is that, in too many cases, foreigners have to pay a very high ticket for visiting some tourist enclaves. If you want more information about tourism in Costa Rica, check out our publication about it.


Although a small country and not a world power in almost any discipline, Costa Ricans closely follow their athletes' successes around the world. Above all, football is the sport that most makes them vibrate. The majority of the population is fond of some team of the country or they follow closely the adventures of those ticos soccer players who emerge in foreign leagues. Among all of them, Keylor Navas points out that, since defending the goal of Real Madrid, he has become a true national idol and is one of every two advertising campaigns (I've invented this, but more or les). But something "moves the floor" is "the Sele", the national team of Costa Rica. The Ticos are hooked to the Costa Rican team to the point where the country is paralyzed in every international match. So if you like football and you travel to Costa Rica, do not miss the opportunity to see a match between ticos or even to play a good "mejenga" (a friendly soccer match) with them.


In Costa Rica the family plays a fundamental role at any stage. Special dates are held earlier with the family than with friends, and it is not uncommon to see older children going out with their parents to the movies or some other social event. Bringing parents on a trip with friends is also doable.

Love relationships in Costa Rica

As I said before, Costa Rican society is quite traditional and this is also evident in the way they have to understand relationships. If you fall in love with a tica and want to have a relationship with her, it is best that you go slowly and step by step, and that if you are clear what you feel you formally ask to be boyfriends. There are families in which you will even have to ask permission from the parents, which is known as "requesting entry". In Costa Rica and in love, it is better not to take things for granted.

Ticos and special dates

In the margin of Christmas, New Year, Easter and other festivals to keep ... Costa Rica has some peculiar celebrations that I would like to rescue. When a baby is on the way, the so-called "baby shower" is celebrated, which began as a meeting of friends and relatives of the pregnant woman in which she gave presents to the future child while enjoying a coffee and something Of pecking. Now the meetings go beyond and is no longer exclusive to women, but is a mixed party in honor of the future member of the family. Some people even call them "guaro shower" (guaro is an alcoholic beverage). When the child turns 15 (especially if she is a woman), then it is time for the party of 15, a great celebration with friends and family in which the birthday girl becomes queen for a day. Among the Catholic families, another highlight is the "Prayer of the Child", a meeting of relatives, friends and neighbors at the beginning of the year to pray the rosary and give thanks for what was received the previous year. In any of these celebrations the popular rice with chicken, one of the most habitual special meals of Costa Rica, plays a prominent role. So resorted is this gastronomic delight that comically is also called "rice with always". Special mention deserves the Costa Rican fans for the dance, so if you attend any celebration, get ready to dance to the rhythm of bachata, merengue, salsa ... or whatever you throw. They keep the rhythm in their blood and you should not be left behind.

And at this point I end my description of Costa Rican society. I hope that this publication has helped you to know a little better the way of being of the Ticos and that allows you to enjoy your company even more. My advice, put a tip in your life.