Life in Costa Rica

Despite being located in a part of the world where political and social unrest often surrounds it, Costa Rica is a country boasting an extremely pleasant way of life, often based on solid family values.

Costa Ricans (‘Ticos’) by and large, are an open-minded and liberal people, willing to consider alternative views or stances, but at the same time, willing to speak out about what they believe in.

Enjoying more stability than many of the surrounding countries, this tiny Central American area (just 19,653 square miles) also boasts a 96% literacy rate, thanks to the accessibility of education.


The social side of life is extremely important in Costa Rican life, and nothing is more cherished and sacred than family. It is normal to find the same groups living, working and ‘playing’ together, and this in itself promotes a culture of solidarity and unity.

Ticos like to make the most of events like baptisms, communions, weddings and funerals.  Every member of the family will attend these events, as well as a large number of family friends.

Family values are strong throughout all levels of society in Costa Rica and it is quite normal for three generations to live within one household – each with a role to play to keep that household running smoothly.

Traditionally, it is the women that run the household, though with more women having to work these days, this is not always the case. There are more single-mother households in Costa Rica then there previously were, as well as more women who want to have a career before they have kids – another example of the liberal stance of Ticos today.

Elders have traditionally been looked after by their families, but this is another area of family life that is changing for Costa Rica. It is now becoming more acceptable for elderly relatives to go to homes or to live alone. No matter what the situation, elders are given the utmost respect and their wisdom is highly valued. Similar to countries like the UK, when elders turn 65, they are given a ‘gold card’ by the government, which entitles them to things like discounts and reduced entry prices.

Costa Rica is a fascinating country, continually adapting to the changes of the modern world, and adapting well. The older people of the country maintain the best of the old values while the younger generations add diversity in beginning new ones.

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