Costa Rica: Pura Vida, Ticos y Ticas!
Costa Rica is magical. The crappy roads actually add to the sightseeing…you can’t help but go slowly, take your time, you notice things – fabulous things. Like a framed in ‘walkway’ 20 feet above the road, strung from tree to tree – for monkeys, lemurs and the like. Or bananas sold beside the road. Ever eaten a fresh-picked banana? Far different to the forced sweetened version sitting in your local supermarket. Night and day! The real deal are firmer, less brightly yellow, delicately fragranced…just scrumptious.
Visiting Costa Rica is a bit like being in Dorothy’s shoes when she wakes up in technicolor. The trees, the birds, butterflies – glass winged butterflies! Butterflies you can actually see through. Magical. With 200 volcanoes and cloud forests bursting with cartoon colored insects, it’s really as though you’ve landed in an ecosystem on steroid version of Oz!
Flora and Fauna
- There are more than 34,000 species of insects in Costa Rica, as well as more than 20,000 species of spider.
- Costa Rica is home to more than ten percent of all the species of butterflies in the world.
- Costa Rica has around 615 species of animals per 10,000 square miles. By comparison, the U.S. has 104.
- Certain species of crocodile, many of which can be found in Costa Rica’s rivers, can measure up to 16 feet in length.
- Costa Rica has over 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.
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 is Costa Rica in a nutshell!
Ticos y Ticas?
The nickname for Costa Ricans is “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 coffee (café) will be known as a cafecito (little coffee), and so on. This little language quirk gives the Ticos their nickname.
Good to know
Visa in not needed for US citizens.
Costa Rica is a vibrant blend of indigenous heritage and Spanish colonial influence, with a dash of Jamaican, Chinese, and other immigrant cultures lending character and customs. The result is a nation of laid-back, friendly, and happy people. A nation whose official language is Spanish, but where large portions of the populations speak English, Bribri, creole Mekatelyu, and Mandarin Chinese as their first languages.
A nation proud to be without an army (Costa Ricans disbanded their armed forces in 1949). A nation with a long history of public services, including education and healthcare, available to all. A nation proud to share its cultural riches.