Costa Rica is as well known for its beautiful natural landscape and biodiversity as it is for its wonderful, happy residents. Here you will find things you might not know about this tropical country.

  1. Where the streets have no name

Directions are given in relation to well-known places (for locals, obviously) using compass directions. That is: “500 meters north east of the Furniture store” or “300 meters from the old gas station,” That means that the gas station is no longer there and you have to guess or ask around. Good luck with that.

  1. You can easily come across a guy walking around with a machete in hand.

Perhaps not as common in San Jose, but much too common in rural areas.  Machetes are the solution to everything. In tropical climates you can use a machete to cut your way through the forests, open up fruits like coconuts or to simply trim the plants in your backyard.

  1. Costa Rica has no army.

They abolished the army in 1948 after their last civil war ended. The money saved from the military budget is now used to educate the young and cure the old.

  1. Costa Rica hosts one of the five Blue Zones of the world.

Blue Zones are regions of the world where people live much longer than average.

These are the five geographic areas, with natural landscapes, where people live statistical  longest: Okinawa (Japan); Sardinia (Italy); Nicoya (Costa Rica); Icaria (Greece) and among the Seventh-Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California

  1. It’s easier to survive in Costa Rica than it is in any other Spanish-speaking country.
  • Hi = Pura Vida
  • How are you? = Pura Vida
  • I´m fine = Pura Vida
  • Yes = Pura Vida
  • OK = Pura Vida
  • Thank you = Pura Vida
  • Bye = Pura Vida


  1. Food is all about roosters

Rooster in Spanish is gallo, from which we get: pico de gallo (salsa), gallo pinto (breakfast rice and beans), gallo de salchichón (sausage taco), and a long list of other delicacies.

  1. The prettier the beach, the messier the road

It´s not only about the destination, it´s about the journey. Costa Ricans take the latter seriously.

  1. Costa Ricans sodas are much different than anywhere else.

This is what Costa Ricans call their local restaurants. They are normally small, open-air eateries that serve Costa Rican traditional food.

  1. Mae is the Costa Rican slang term for “dude.”

It is used regularly in any given situation.

  1. You can meet the President!

Besides being safe, Costa Rica is also a small country where everyone knows each other, even the president. Wanna meet him? Just attend a public event and make sure you bring your camera.