Costa Rica – GENERAL INFORMATION – Culture

Costa Rica boasts a varied culture. Costa Rica was the point where the Mesoamerican and South American native cultures met. The north west of the country, Nicoya, was the southernmost point of Nahuatl cultural influence when the Spanish conquistadores came in the 16th century. The center and south portions of the country had Chibcha influences. The Atlantic coast was populated with African slaves due to the practice of enslavement in the 17th and 18th centuries. In addition, during this 19th century thousands of Chinese families came to the country to work on the construction of the railroad system connecting the urban populations of the Central Plateau to the port of Limon on the Caribbean.Costa Rican music includes a rhythm known as tambito as well a distinctive musical genre known as the punto. Two examples are the “punto guanacasteco”, which hails from the Guanacaste Province, and the “punto sancarleño”, from San Carlos, in the Alajuela province. Most music and representative folklore in Costa Rica comes from the Nicoya peninsula and the Atlantic coast (Afro-Caribbean culture).In Costa Rica the locals are referred to as Tico or Ticos. Ticos are a very friendly, laid back, and environmentally aware people. The phrase that you will hear many Tico’s say is “pura vida” which literally means pure life. As a friendly expression you will hear many Tico’s say “pura vida.”