20 facts you might not know about Costa Rica.
1. Costa Ricans call themselves ticos (males) and ticas(females).
The word “tico/a” comes from the way we Costa Ricans speak. We use a lot of diminutives… Which in Spanish are: momentico (A little while), Chiquitico (Really small), etc.
2. It’s not a big deal to see someone walking around with a machete.
It’s common in the countryside, ticos use machetes for everything and often keep one on them.
3. Ticos often refer to their life mates as their “media naranja”.
Which means “the other half of their orange.”
4. Costa Rica’s president, Luis Guillermo Solís, won the 2014 election with over 77% of the vote.
This was the largest margin ever recorded for a free election in Costa Rica. Previously, Costa Rica’s president was Laura Chinchilla, Costa Rica’s first female president and sixth female elected for president of a Latin American country.
5. Costa Rica has more than 121 volcanic formations, with seven of them being active.
Right now, the Turrialba Volcano is very active, with ash eruptions as quite a common sight.
6. The country is host to more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity.
Even though its landmass only takes up .03% of the planet’s surface, more than 10% of the world’s butterflies live here — there are about 750,000 species of insects that live in Costa Rica, and 20,000 various kinds of spiders.
7. Costa Rica has no standing army.
Costa Rica abolished the army on December 1st, 1948 after their last civil war ended.
8. Costa Ricans have their father and their mother names as their full name
Children take their father’s name but add their mother’s maiden name to their full name.
9. Instead of saying a woman “had a baby,” ticos say“ella se mejoró.”
Meaning, “she got better”… As pregnancy was seen as a sort of “disease” in the past.
10. Every Costa Rican radio station plays the national anthem every morning at 7am.
11. Until a few years ago, wearing shorts was not proper while in San José.
And government buildings wouldn’t allow visitors to enter unless they were wearing long pants. Up until today, you cannot get in with shorts and flip-flops to the National Theater.
12. Speed bumps are called “muertos”
Speed bumps are called “muertos” or “policías dormidos”— meaning that they are dead or asleep traffic police cops.
13. Costa Rica is considered one of the most valued environmental destinations in the world.
There are over 100 protected areas to visit, and 25% of the country has protected forests and reserves.
14. Ice cream flavors in Costa Rica are interesting and sometimes slightly weird.
Flavors include coconut, wild blackberry, peanut, sour cream, chocolate almond, wild brownies, and more.
15. You could easily call Costa Rica the unofficial hummingbird capital.
The country is home to over 52 species of hummingbird.
16. Pura Vida is a happy, feel-good expression.
Pura Vida is the most common expression for Costa Ricans to ask or say how they are or in passing to say hello or goodbye.
17. Costa Rica has an exceptionally high life expectancy of 79, one of the highest in the world.
And receives international tribute for its modern health care system, where it’s ranked 36th in the world by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Nicoya Peninsula is one of the world’s seven Blue Zones, a place where people live longer and happier lives, and has a high concentration of people over age 100. This is linked to the type of water they drink
18. There are usually no street names or addresses.
All directions are given through landmarks. Addresses are usually like “From the house of Matute, 200 meters South”, or “From the blue house you go down 100 meters”.
19. Mae is the Costa Rican slang term for “dude.”
It is very used and not offensive at all.
20. Costa Rica has a 96% literacy rate.
In rural areas of the country where ticos are very poor and don’t have access to school, classes are taught on air over a national radio station