Costa Rica
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Top Costa Rica


Unlike its neighbors, Costa Rica’s is not rich with ancient Maya traditions nor does is have the colonial charm of places like Granada and Antigua. What it does have is a laid back vibe and a culture that stems from a heavy influence of African/Caribbean culture.

Pura Vida is a word you will hear a lot in Costa Rica. Like the word aloha in Hawaii, pura vida refers as much to a lifestyle as it does a phrase or a sentiment. The word, directly translated as pure life, became a popular saying in the in 1956 when the Mexican movie of the same title became popular in the country. By the 1970’s it became a part of Costa Rica’s national identify connoting a lifestyle of laidback ease and enjoyment of life. Pura vida is commonly used as a greeting, an expression of pleasure or satisfaction. It can also be used to express indifference to something or gratitude. It’s often used as a substitute for the words gracias and de nada. Basically, if walk around saying only the words pura vida, you’ll probably get away with it—especially if you’re in a beach community.

Because most of the native population of Costa Rica was killed off after the Spanish conquest, the country’s language, music and art influence comes more from its colonial past than a single indigenous tradition. Spanish is the official language but Mekatelyu, which is a mix of English and Jamaican is spoken on the Caribbean coast and many people in the country speak English as a second language.

In recent years, Costa Rica’s art and entertainment scene has grown along with its growing economy. Along with galleries, art house movie theaters and dance troupes, there are burgeoning artists communities popping up in the suburbs of San Jose. Museums are also gaining popularity, focusing mostly on Pre-Colombian artifacts.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Costa Rica: Literature, Art In Costa Rica, Gay Manuel Antonio and Museums.

15 Oct 2010

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