Costa Rica! Part II: The Culture

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by Beth

Last time, I explained some great attributes that brought me to Costa Rica. I’d like to expand on that beauty and explain a bit about the cultural aspects of Costa Rica that are different from the US and why I love it!

Costa Rica is not a first world country. My sister in law would argue that it’s a developed country, and others would say it’s developing. Now, it’s not even close to how that sounds – you’re not playing Naked and Afraid, but there are plenty of reasons to be cautious in Costa Rica, but I digress. I’ll get to that another day!

With that being said, Costa Rica has everything the US does in terms of luxuries, and then some. Internet, cell service (albeit spotty in places,) cable, iPads, luxury vehicles, volcanic hot springs, rapelling, kayaking, waterfalls, endless hiking trails, day spas, you name it, it’s here. But the cool thing that I admire about it, is that it is terribly expensive to get anything that’s a luxury. Would you like your American sweet treats as you surf the web on your iPad? Expect to pay double for everything. That’s due to the 100% import taxes on anything bought from outside of Costa Rica. This part in itself is ridiculous, but it has a silver lining – the Ticos (Costa Rican citizens) live incredibly simply, and when they don’t, they cherish each luxury like it’s gold. In the States, we’re so used to having access to anything we want anytime, and we tend to take those things for granted. What if you had to wait 4-5 weeks for your iPad to arrive, and it cost $1200 instead of $600? I bet you would cherish it more then.

It’s lost on us in the US to respect and honor our elders anymore. It seems like the cultural norm is to discard them by placing them into nursing homes, and treating them as second class. Here, and in many other parts of the world, seniors are highly respected. If there is one seat left on the bus, you give it to the senior. Let them go first. Open doors for them. It’s not something that you often see anymore in the States, and it saddens me. Here, you live with your parents and grandparents, and take care of them any way you can. Everyone knows everybody else, and they help each other out. It’s such a communal place, and brings a sense of gratitude to what I have here. Next time you see a senior in need, try to help them out. I feel like it’s the little things that matter most nowadays.

Lastly, Costa Ricans have a work ethic like I’ve never seen before. I consider myself a workaholic, but living virtually stress free in Costa Rica has allowed me to slow down and enjoy life a bit more. I can’t imagine working 50 hours a week at $3/hr like they do and be so motivated! It’s absolutely beautiful here, and I can’t avoid staring out my window every few moments to absorb the beauty. I would be so distracted! And yes, the average wage here is $3/hr. Bundle that with how expensive some things are here, and you have a recipe for poverty. Ticos are so happy and grateful, and don’t let that shortcoming get them down.

I recently read an article where Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world! I know firsthand why. It’s an amazing place, with an amazing culture, and wonderful people.

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  1. Costa Rica! Part II: The Culture | Ethical Green StoreEthical Green Store - October 10, 2014

    […] By Beth Brass […]

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