Costa Ricans we are very used to have “fiestas” and there are several traditions that you can enjoy in your program coming from those traditions. From the town bands called “Cimarronas” to the big spanish originated “Mantudos” that are big puppet like masks. there are several activities we currently do in our towns that can be used and adapted for the participants to enjoy.
A town in Costa Rica has certain basic things, the Catholic temple, the public primary school, the soccer field and the grocery store that is also a bar. It is usually all within walking distance and in mostly all cases there are some stores, vegetable and fresh fruits So, it is quite easy to create a little town in the hotel where the program is at.
Whether it’s merely a “Buenas” or a “Diosss” when passing a stranger with a warm smile on the sidewalk or entering someone’s home, you’re bound to be greeted like the most important person in the world at that given moment. You are greeted with a kiss on the cheek and very often with a good heartfelt hug.
When you get to a Costa Rican’s home, the welcome will be with a “fresco” (Fruit juice) and they will always ask if you want “a gallito” (A tortilla with something).
Family in Costa Rica is sacred and goes first. Period. It is not only about special dates. It’s always everybody knows it, everyone respects it.
It is not frowned at all staying with the parents until thirty or even forty (I have at least three friends in their late forties and early fifties still living with their parents). But even for those who have left home and move to their own, married or not… Family is family. Christmas and New Year’s, Birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s Days, and every now and then simply because it is Sunday.
We have usual family games and dishes, traditions that may be different form one Costa Rican family to the next.
Costa Ricans we are used to wake up with the sun. Either to work out, to go to the fields, to take the children to school or start cleaning the house.
Remember the sun rises every day of the year at the same time, so it really makes no difference for us.
Costa Ricans, in general, we know our weather is unpredictable. There are rainy seasons (Like this one unfortunately) that seem to be sunny seasons, there are pouring rains sometimes in the middle of the sunny season. And there is nothing none can do. We have understood that.
Take an umbrella and a sweater with you all year round… You just never know here!
The majority of Costa Ricans we use public transportation… even if we have a car (To avoid paying parking lots and the stress of the traffic jams). Usually you go to the nearest town (Or city) by bus and walk to the different places that you need to go. Cities and towns are made for pedestrians. And we actually like it that way.
There are all sorts of herbs and sauces, of course we use Lizano (A kind of Worcestershire sauce, curry based) in almost every dish, but as well cilantro, onions, sweet pepper and garlic are used on almost everything. Spaguetti sauce is made with fresh tomatoes and there is an abundance of choices for salads. All fresh.
As well! In every single meal there is a fresh fruit juice.
It Is beyond our control. Here you simply have to separate them. In Costa Rica if you work too much the family and friends will worry. It is not approved or well seen, you have to balance fun, family and work. You simply have to have a balance. And even though it is fine to take extra time at work or be on the 24/7 turn every now and then, if we feel work is preceding the “joie de vivre” (Life joy) we search for a quick change.
And when you live out of the city and in a small town, you will find that they close for lunch at midday and everything is shot down on Sundays or holidays.