Pura Vida! When you visit this unforgettable vacation paradise, you will hear the expression, ‘Pura Vida’ virtually everywhere! Literally it means: ‘pure life’. If you ask: ‘How are you?’ the Costa Rican answer: ‘Pura Vida’. ‘Did you have a good meal?’ ‘Pura Vida’. As tourists traveling through the country who speaks out these magical words, I guarantee you will be welcomed by a warm and gracious smile.
Costa Rican’s regard themselves as Tico’s and they radiate kindness and cheerfulness and are always ready to help you out. Your experience among the Tico’s will be memorable – even when they don’t always speak English. Spanish is the official language in Costa Rica and even a few words make contact with the natives much more pleasurable and ‘PURA VIDA!’
While good manners are always appreciated, none more so than by the Costa Ricans. Simple things like greetings when you enter a place or thanking them for a service done are thoroughly appreciated. On this Interlude, you can look forward to enjoying what could very well be a hilarious conversation in real Spangish. This too, is what makes your vacation here, ‘Pura Vida’.
Costa Rica is truly a gem and it’s always a good idea to know something about the diversity of another country’s culture. While enjoying this sojourn, you may not get an idea of Costa Rica as a multicultural society because the vast majority of the population is descended from the Spaniard. However, in contrast to other Central-American countries the presence of the native population is quite limited as people from all over the world migrated there and enriched the country with their habits and culture.
The Spaniards, who were the colonizers of nowadays Costa Rica, formed just a first wave of immigrants. They mixed with the local native people. In the 19th century mainly Jamaican workers came to Costa Rica to build the railroad between San José and Puerto Limón. After finishing, they stayed and found opportunities at the emerging banana plantations in the Atlantic lowlands. At the same time Chinese laborers entered the country followed by Italian immigrants. At the end of the 20th century thousands of Nicaraguan, Salvadorian and Columbian refugees fled to Costa Rica during the civil wars in Central America.
You know what a rich music and dance culture exists in Latin-America and Costa Rica is no exception! Dance takes a central place in the life of every Costa Rican. Until recently the capital of San José had more than a thousand dancing halls- it was just as popular as playing soccer!
Costa Ricans are passionate dancers and nowhere is this more conspicuous than in the cumbia. This dance originated in Colombia and recently became extremely popular in Costa Rica. Costa Ricans have their specific way to dance it too. The dancing pair hops up and down on the tight rhythm of the music. There is nowhere else the cumbia is danced like the Costa Ricans do. I hope you have the opportunity to see this first hand – great fun! Salsa, bolero and merengue are also popular and the natives do those with great flare.
Costa Rica’s different music deeply reflects the cultural variety you will find within this beautiful country. San José is the cradle of cumbia-bands. Also, look for calypso and reggae bands in the Caribbean and while visiting the Guanastecan savannas, you will hear folkloristic music with its main instrument, the marimba, very popular and so much fun to hear.
See it all, hear it all, enjoy it all! Please review the complete itinerary and begin anticipating your Costa Rican escorted vacation – you will be so glad that you did!
Eadie, Interlude Blog Team
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