Costa Rica Culture – A Rich Identity



The Costa Rica culture offers a great deal for intrigue and exploratio for those who have decided to make the most of their retirement and move to this fantastic tropical country. Coming from the United States or Canada, many retirees may want to be prepared for some of the differences they’ll find here before they are affected with culture shock.

Overall, in the Costa Rica culture, people are known for hospitality and welcoming of foreigners who come to their country as expatriates.However, there are certain elements of the local customs that can be a hindrance.


For example, the political and religious views of the locals tend to be highly conservative, and “Ticos” as these individuals are referred to don’t welcome strangers who have different ideas or are looking for change.

The good news is that if you are willing to blend in, you’ll be welcomed.

A Note on Culture Shock:
I personally found that reverse culture shock, when you go back to you native country for a visit, to be much more ‘shocking’ than when I first moved to a completely different culture – China.After living in Asia for several years my perspective of the world changed a lot and after being unplugged from western news and media for so long and I found it difficult to integrate back home.It’s nothing to be too afraid of, but something to be aware of.

While the country itself is not wealthy by any means, it has a much higher standard of living than many surrounding countries, and though by American standards the people are generally poor, most of the individuals in the country are considered middle class, with a few elitists and some in extreme poverty.The social classes actually don’t mix much in the country, but because the majority of the population falls in the center, this is not very noticeable.
What you may notice is that there are two particular attitudes here that vary from what has become the norm in the United States.First, while not overtly prejudice, Costa Rica culture does have a sense of racial difference and holds itself prideful of being “whiter” than surrounding countries.The “Ticos” referred to earlier are generally lighter skinned individuals with backgrounds almost entirely of Spanish decent, and they quietly tend to look down on darker skinned individuals.However, expatriates will not often be affected the same way by this standard simply because they usually offer a greater contribution to the economy.

The other attitude that comes into play is the machismo that is typical of most Latin cultures, though it is felt more strongly here.Some women are okay with this because it can also be used to their advantage, while others are offended.
One other aspect of life in Costa Rica culture that fast-moving, demanding Americans will have to come to terms with when retiring to this country is the laid back attitude and lack of punctuality that is common.In fact, in this country, it is almost rude to be on time, and you’ll find that nothing ever happens in a hurry and rarely at the specified time, sometimes lagging behind for hours.Instead, you can relax and enjoy a retirement that is not hurried, and you can take part in the common local customs of celebration and socialization.



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