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Culture & Identity of Costa Rica

Introduction

Costa Rican Culture - Ox cart
Ox cart

The culture and identity of Costa Rica is quite different from many of the country's neighbors, however the way of life is similar in many ways; in fact the way of life is similar to many countries.

Much of the lifestyle in Costa Rica is based on the economy and jobs in the country. There are a significant number of people that work in agriculture, industry, and services, which leads to numerous work schedules, incomes, and lifestyles. For the small farming population life is heavily dependent on the sun, weather, and the seasons, while for some urban services jobs life revolves around a very set schedule from Monday to Friday.

The industries people find jobs in is also quite diverse, including technology, clothing, and tourism in addition the farming, fishing, and the lumber industries. These jobs do a great deal in determining the way of life in Costa Rica since people spend so much time at work. For nearly everyone though, the hours are fairly regular, working in the morning to the evening, with nights and weekends generally free. Of course some industries, such as the tourism industry, have odd hours and many times require evening or weekend work.

Costa Rican Culture - Kayak
Kayak

Schools also contribute to the daily routine and way of life. Education is important to the Costa Ricans and nearly every child attends school. This is leading to the country becoming more knowledgeable in numerous fields, including technology, biology, but also in foreign business as English is widely spoken. As the country becomes more and more educated the opportunities are changing and incomes are rising.

Today this extra discretionary incomes means the people tend to have a decent number of options during their free time. Entertainment options are growing in the cities and in the rural areas alike as restaurants and bars are common in many towns and in more rural areas sports, hiking, and other outdoor activities are becoming popular.

Identity

The Costa Ricans tend to view themselves as such or as "ticos" and this identity is defined in contrast to many of the neighboring people. Unlike many Central American countries, the people of Costa Rica tend to have a much higher percentage of European ancestry compared to Native American ancestry, making the people view themselves as Costa Rican or ticos and rarely to never as "Hispanic" or "Latin American." The people also generally refer to themselves as "white" and this is generally considered an integral aspect of being a tico (or tica). There is debate on whether or not people who have a larger percentage of Native American or African ancestry are also ticos, as they are generally identified as mestizos by the locals. However, outside of Costa Rica they identify as ticos, which is the term often used to indicates that they are from Costa Rica, no matter their skin tone. Numerous social organizations and accomplishments are also a point of emphasis on the identity; the ticos tend to be proud of their governmental stability, education, and health care levels, while religion and Catholicism are somewhat underplayed.

This page was last updated: December, 2013