Costa Rica is a country known for its laid-back and relaxed lifestyle, influenced by the concept of Pura Vida, which translates to “pure life” in Spanish. The locals live their daily life in a way that emphasizes simplicity, happiness, and being present at the moment.

The Pura Vida lifestyle is evident in the way Costa Ricans approach work, leisure, and family life. They prioritize spending time with loved ones and enjoying the simple pleasures in life, such as a sunset on the beach or a cup of coffee with a friend.

Key Takeaways

  • Costa Rican daily life is characterized by the Pura Vida lifestyle, emphasizing simplicity, happiness, and being present in the moment.
  • The locals prioritize spending time with loved ones and enjoying simple pleasures in life.

Costa Rican Culture and Traditions

Costa Rica is known for its rich cultural traditions that are deeply rooted in its history and heritage. The country has a diverse population, with influences from indigenous, European, and African cultures. The cultural diversity is reflected in the music, dance, art, and food that is unique to Costa Rica.

Cultural Aspects

Costa Rican music is heavily influenced by Spanish folk, African rhythms, and indigenous sounds. Salsa, merengue, and cumbia are popular genres of music that are commonly heard at festivals and social gatherings. Folkloric dances, such as the “Punto Guanacasteco,” are also an essential aspect of Costa Rican culture and are performed in colorful costumes that reflect the country’s history and traditions.

The visual arts in Costa Rica range from indigenous and traditional pieces to contemporary art exhibitions. The country boasts a thriving arts and crafts community, with many artists creating unique and beautiful pieces that reflect the country’s natural beauty and diversity.

Family values and community involvement are deeply ingrained in Costa Rican society. The concept of “getting along” is highly valued, with emphasis placed on cooperation and consensus-building. Social gatherings and festivals are an important part of life in Costa Rica, with families coming together to share food, music, and stories. The country’s strong sense of community and belonging is evident in the way people connect with each other and the natural world around them.

Celebrations and Festivals

Costa Rica has a rich and diverse range of celebrations and festivals throughout the year. Some of the most popular include the “Fiestas de Palmares,” a week-long festival in January that attracts thousands of visitors with its rodeos, concerts, and parades. Another popular festival is the “Festival de la Luz” in December, which features a parade of colorful floats and fireworks.

The “Dia de los Muertos,” or Day of the Dead, is another important celebration in Costa Rican culture. Families come together to honor their loved ones who have passed away with beautiful altars and offerings of food and drink. The festival is a testament to the country’s strong ties to family and community.


Costa Rican cuisine is a delicious blend of indigenous, Spanish, and African flavors. The national dish, “gallo pinto,” is a hearty breakfast of rice and beans that is often served with eggs or meat. “Casado,” a traditional lunch dish, includes rice, beans, plantains, salad, and a choice of meat. Seafood is also popular in Costa Rica, with “ceviche” being a must-try dish for visitors.

The emphasis on fresh, local ingredients is evident in the cuisine, with many dishes featuring fruits, vegetables, and herbs grown in the country’s fertile soil. Costa Ricans take pride in their food and are known for their hospitality and love of sharing meals with friends and family.

Costa Rican traditional dance

“The visual arts in Costa Rica range from indigenous and traditional pieces to contemporary art exhibitions.”

Costa Rican Cuisine: A Gastronomic Delight

Costa Rican cuisine is a delicious blend of indigenous, Spanish, and African influences with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. The country’s diverse topography and climate lend themselves to a wide range of culinary offerings.

Costa Rican cuisine

The national dish of Costa Rica is gallo pinto, a savory combination of rice and black beans often served with scrambled eggs, plantains, and corn tortillas. Other popular dishes include casado, a hearty platter consisting of rice, beans, meat, salad, and fried plantains, and ceviche, a citrus-marinated seafood salad.

Dish Description
Gallo Pinto Combination of rice and black beans
Casado Hearty platter with rice, beans, meat, salad, and fried plantains
Ceviche Citrus-marinated seafood salad

Costa Rican cuisine also features a variety of tropical fruits, including guava, mango, and passionfruit, as well as plantains and yucca. Freshly caught seafood is widely available on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

The country’s coffee is world-renowned, and coffee plantations offer tours and tastings. Visitors also have the opportunity to try chicha, a traditional maize beverage, and aguadulce, a sweet beverage made from sugarcane.

“Costa Rican cuisine is a delicious blend of indigenous, Spanish, and African influences with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients.”

Food plays an important role in Costa Rican culture, with family meals and social gatherings often centered around a shared table. Restaurants range from simple roadside soda stands to upscale international dining establishments, offering something for every taste and budget.

  • Costa Rican cuisine features a blend of indigenous, Spanish, and African influences
  • Popular dishes include gallo pinto, casado, and ceviche
  • Fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and Costa Rican coffee are also highlights
  • Food plays an important role in Costa Rican culture

Daily Routines and Activities in Costa Rica

Costa Ricans are known for their early mornings and active lifestyle. Many locals wake up before dawn to enjoy the cool morning air and get a head start on the day’s activities.

However, as the day heats up, it’s common to take a break during the midday heat for a siesta. This tradition allows locals to rest and recharge before continuing their day.

Outdoor activities are a big part of Costa Rican life, with surfing, hiking, and wildlife spotting being some of the most popular options. The country’s stunning natural beauty provides numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation, from exploring lush rainforests and pristine beaches to observing exotic animals in their natural habitats.

In fact, Costa Rica is renowned for its commitment to environmental conservation, making it a prime destination for eco-tourists. Visitors can take part in sustainable tourism activities such as turtle conservation projects, zip lining through the jungle, and hiking to waterfalls.

With such an emphasis on outdoor activities and nature, it’s no surprise that Costa Ricans are some of the happiest and healthiest people in the world.

Costa Rican man surfing

Surfing is a popular outdoor activity in Costa Rica, with many locals and visitors taking advantage of the country’s excellent waves.

The Costa Rican Community: Warm and Welcoming

Costa Rican people are known for being friendly and welcoming to visitors. They have a strong sense of community and belonging, which is reflected in their social gatherings and festivals that take place throughout the year.

The traditional family values are highly regarded in Costa Rican culture, with the family being the core of the community. It is a common sight to see families gathering together in parks, sharing meals, or celebrating special occasions. This warm and inclusive atmosphere extends to visitors as well, with locals often inviting travelers to join in their celebrations or offering assistance when needed.

The community spirit is also evident through the various festivals and events that take place throughout the country. The Costa Rican people take great pride in their cultural heritage, with festivities highlighting traditional music, dance, and art. Some of the most popular festivals include the Fiestas de Zapote, the Día de los Muertos, and the Fiestas Patronales. These events provide a great opportunity for visitors to experience Costa Rican culture firsthand and to connect with the friendly locals.

Costa Rican community festival

“Come for the beaches, stay for the people” – a popular saying that reflects the warmth and hospitality of the Costa Rican community.

The friendly and welcoming nature of Costa Ricans is one of the reasons why the country has become such a popular destination for travelers seeking a unique and authentic experience.

Natural Wonders: Costa Rica’s Breathtaking Beauty

Costa Rica is a country filled with natural wonders that will leave any visitor in awe. From the lush rainforests to the pristine beaches, there is no shortage of breathtaking beauty to explore. One of the most popular destinations in the country is the Arenal Volcano, which is still active and can be seen spewing lava on clear nights.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a unique experience that offers a view of the canopy from above on a suspended bridge, and the Manuel Antonio National Park features beautiful beaches with clear blue water and coral reefs. For those interested in wildlife, the Corcovado National Park is a must-visit, with its diverse range of animals such as jaguars, monkeys, tapirs, and macaws.

Aside from its natural beauty, Costa Rica is also committed to sustainability and eco-tourism. The country has set aside nearly 25% of its land as protected areas, and the government has implemented policies and programs to encourage eco-friendly tourism. Visitors can be assured that their travels have a minimal impact on the environment.

With so much natural beauty to explore, it’s no wonder that Costa Rica has become a popular destination for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or explore the rainforest, Costa Rica has something for everyone.


Costa Rica offers visitors a unique experience that combines the Pura Vida lifestyle, rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisine, and breathtaking natural beauty. From the friendly and welcoming community to the stunning natural wonders, this Central American country has something for everyone.

Whether it’s exploring the rainforests, lounging on the beaches, or indulging in the local cuisine, Costa Rica promises a memorable experience. It’s no wonder that this country has become an increasingly popular tourism destination in recent years.

What sets Costa Rica apart is its commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable tourism. As visitors immerse themselves in the local culture and natural beauty of the country, they can also feel good about supporting a country that prioritizes the well-being of its unique and diverse ecosystem.

Overall, daily life in Costa Rica is characterized by a laid-back and relaxed culture that embraces the simple pleasures of life. Visitors are welcomed with open arms into a vibrant community that values nature, family, and tradition. It’s an experience not to be missed.

-Article by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

[email protected]



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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Pura Vida lifestyle?

A: The Pura Vida lifestyle is a way of life in Costa Rica that emphasizes relaxation, happiness, and a positive outlook. It embodies the laid-back and easygoing nature of the Costa Rican culture.

What are some traditional aspects of Costa Rican culture?

A: Costa Rican culture is rich in traditions such as traditional music, dance, and art. Family values and community involvement are also highly important in Costa Rican society.

What are some popular dishes in Costa Rican cuisine?

A: Costa Rican cuisine is a gastronomic delight, with popular dishes including gallo pinto, casado, and ceviche. The cuisine emphasizes fresh, local ingredients and is influenced by indigenous and Spanish flavors.

What are some typical daily routines and activities in Costa Rica?

A: Costa Ricans often start their days early and embrace siesta culture in the afternoons. Outdoor activities such as surfing, hiking, and wildlife spotting are popular, highlighting the importance of nature and outdoor recreation.

What is the Costa Rican community like?

A: The Costa Rican community is known for being warm and welcoming. There is a strong sense of belonging and community, with social gatherings and festivals playing an essential role in Costa Rican culture.

What natural wonders can be found in Costa Rica?

A: Costa Rica is home to breathtaking natural wonders such as lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and diverse wildlife. The country is committed to environmental conservation and sustainable tourism.



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