Costa Rica is renowned both for its tropical beauty and for the warmth of the “Ticos”—its people’s own name for themselves. The Ticos have a wonderful enthusiasm for life, shown as much in their passion for soccer as in their demonstrations in support of human rights. They are also a proud people, who cherish their democracy in an area that has seen generations of political unrest.
There has been burgeoning development in Costa Rica over the last decade. With rapid growth, however, have come growing pains. The middle class is expanding, but there is still a significant and increasing amount of poverty in the country. Over the past few years there has been a profound movement of population to the towns of the Central Valley. Higher education is now the norm for young Ticos, which has put a strain on the national universities, and private universities have opened to meet the need. All these changes have created a challenge for the government in fulfilling the demands of development.
Culture Smart! Costa Rica aims to explore the complex human realities of modern Costa Rican life. Through the descriptions of the country’s history, geography, customs, and traditions, you can see how regional differences and shared values and attitudes have developed. You will get a glimpse of the Ticos’ home life, of how they do business, and of how they socialize. Armed with this information, you will be better equipped to understand your hosts and to enjoy your visit to the full. Bienvenidos!