Top Costa Rica Facts
Costa Rica is small on size but big on things that we bet you didn’t know before! For example, did you know that:
1. Costa Ricans refer to themselves as “Ticos”. This is because of the habit in Spanish of using the diminutive, and that at a much higher rate than most other Spanish speaking countries. For example, “perro” (dog) will be known as “perrito” (little dog), no matter how big it is! A banana (banano) will be known as a bananito (little banana), and so on. This little language quirk sounds delightful and gives the Ticos their nickname!
2. Costa Rica has 25% of its land area protected as either a national park or wildlife reserve. This is the largest percentage of territory protected out of any other country in the world.
3. Street names do not exist in Costa Rica. Everything is counted in distance from a local landmark. For example, the Costa Rican Vacations office is addressed like this: 100 meters west and 50meters north of the main entrance to the National Stadium. Go figure!
4. Every town, no matter how small, has a church, a soccer pitch and a pulperia (small store). All churches face west in Costa Rica, which is extremely helpful when finding your way around due to the lack of street names!
5. In Costa Rican taxies, the meter is called the “maria”. This is a reference to the honesty of the Virgin Mary and also the taxi driver. “Toca la Maria, por favor!”
6. MacDonalds and Burger King are to be found in Costa Rica. No big deal, you say? Here they actually deliver to your home!!
7. In Costa Rica you’ll hear the expression “pura vida” a lot. And I mean a LOT! Pura Vida is used for everything, from hello to goodbye to just showing appreciation. Pura Vida sums up Costa Rica in a nutshell!
8. The staple diet in Costa Rica is rice and beans. These two basics combine to create probably the greatest breakfast in the world, “gallo pinto”! Gallo pinto is a source of national pride in both Costa Rica and neighboring Nicaragua, with both countries claiming the dish as their own.
9. In the spirit of “Pura Vida”, Costa Rica abolished its army in 1949, saying that they would create “an army of teachers” instead. Decades later, Costa Rica has a literacy rate of 96%, one of the highest in Latin America.
10. The local firewater in Costa Rica is called “guaro” and is made from sugar cane. Very inexpensive and coming in plastic bottles, it’s best avoided if you don’t like crushing hangovers!
There is plenty more to learn about Costa Rica – you just need to come down and find out!