At a recent lingerie fashion show in Costa Rica, a Colombian model who also performed as a singer onstage was asked by daily tabloid Diario Extra: “So what did you think of the show?” to which she responded “Awesome, you know? I love the people of Puerto Rico! You can cue the trombones at this point, but the fact is that Costa Rica gets confused with Puerto Rico more often than you think.

192310_chelo-350The example above is just one of the many instances in which someone gets the Republic of Costa Rica mixed up with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Granted, there is a couple of similarities between Costa Rica and Puerto Rico: There’s the Spanish language and Latin American cultural background, and both places are known for their natural beauty and great rums. They both share two-word names -along with others such as Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Cape Verde, etc.

We all know the major differences between both places:

  • Puerto Rico is a Caribbean archipelago; Costa Rica is part of the Central American Isthmus.
  • Politically speaking, Costa Rica is a sovereign and independent nation; Puerto Rico is a country in the cultural sense, but the island is an unincorporated territory of the United States and a commonwealth thereof.
  • The countries are separated by a distance of 2,204 kilometers as the crow flies.

We can drill down the differences by looking at interesting tidbits found in the engrossing site IfItWereMyHome.com:

  • The per capita consumption of oil in Costa Rica is 78.61 percent less than in Puerto Rico.
  • Ticos use 67.8 percent electricity than Boricuas.
  • The unemployment rate in Puerto Rico is higher than in Costa Rica, although it is climbing for the latter and recovering in the former.
  • Ticos are 42.92 percent more likely to have babies than Boricuas.
  • On average, Boricuas earn about $7,000 more than Ticos.
  • A baby born in Puerto Rico is more likely to survive infancy than in Costa Rica; the odds are about 0.92 percent better.

The Hollywood film industry is unintentionally adding to the confusion. Two recent film productions featuring Costa Rica as background for their plots were filmed in Puerto Rico: Act of Valor and Runner, Runner. Film production studios have an important financial motivation for choosing Puerto Rico as a stand-in for Costa Rica, which is something that the Costa Rica Star has extensively written about in the past.

Confusion about Costa Rica is not limited to getting her mixed up with the Island of Enchantment. We can find plenty of examples of people who think Costa Rica is also a territory of the United States, and not just because of the alarming number of McDonald’s and Hooters restaurants. Popular online question and answer sites are sadly filled with such examples, and the answers tend to include hilarious commentary directed at the curious person asking the question. There is even a very funny video about this.

Another infamous example of a geographically challenged person getting Costa Rica mixed up is Alexis Bellino of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County. In a 2012 story arc of the popular reality television franchise, Ms. Bellino thought Costa Rica was part of Mexico.

Marcela Pulgarin is the name of the geographically disoriented model mentioned earlier, but she is better known as Chelo. She was in Costa Rica last week to perform at the Chamela lingerie fashion show along with two other models from Colombia.

Chamela is a lingerie brand that is well-known in Costa Rica and Latin America for its catalog that is specially designed to compliment the curvy figures of Latinas. Seven well-known Costa Rican figure models also sashayed down the runway showing off their gorgeous looks and lingerie. Known as pasarelas in Costa Rica, these shows in tend to attract an audience that is predominantly male.

Article by Costa Rica Star


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