COSTA RICA EXTRA – There are many reasons for moving to Costa Rica but the most attractive one is that Costa Ricans are nice people, which is why they have a hard time saying NO.

You’re almost there, just keep going for another mile or so and turn right...
You’re almost there, just keep going for another mile or so and turn right…

If you compare the Ticos, which is how they call themselves proudly, with the neighbors, the Panamanians and the Nicaraguans (Nicas), they come way ahead in friendliness.

Ticos have a different attitude, to my opinion, due to the fact that they never had to really suffer through dictatorship and civil wars. During the only Costa Rican civil war, the revolution of 1948, took the fighting parties only 44 days to figure things out between them. Costa Rica has always had a huge middle class and social unrest has been practically unknown to them.

Following the civil war, the army was abolished and the money usually budgeted for an army, was used to build schools, which is what made the Tico the most educated population in Central America. This is what sets them apart from the rest of their continent and why Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world.

Because of those facts, the first expats started moving down to Costa Rica and during the 70’s and 80’s Costa Rica became a retirement haven. This is why they got used to foreigners and the reason Ticos are generally very socializing and easy going. “I don’t have a clue” or “beats me” is not in their dictionary.

In the following explanation, I am generalizing and of course this might not the way every Tico will react to a situation. Educated Ticos will respond differently than those not so well schooled and those who live in San Jose will respond differently than those who live in Huacas, Guanacaste for example.

Ticos are not as direct in their response as we are; they try to be nice about it and will not just say NO like most of us do if they don’t know or can’t deliver. Even if it has to be a wrong answer.

Let me give you some samples:

  • If you ask for an address, and they don’t know it, they will say: “you’re almost there, just keep going for another mile or so and turn right. If you get lost, ask again”.
  • If you ARE having a great time with them at a party, and you say “let’s get together again, this is fun”, they will agree you need to meet again but you won’t get a new date out of them.
  • Or, they might invite you to come over for coffee but they won’t give you their address.
  • If you are looking for a product in the store, they will tell you they don’t have it that day but to come back the next week, even though they don’t even know if they will ever have it in stock.
  • If you make an appointment with them and they already have one at the same time they will agree on setting the appointment and they will just arrive late or not show up at all.
  • If you order a Flor de Caña rum & coke in a bar or a restaurant and they don’t have it, they’ll just serve you another rum brand and if you tell them that’s not what you ordered, they will insist it is.
  • They will promise to email you certain information and they will forget. When you remind them, they will forget again.

From Costa Rica Extra, article by Ivo at Go Dutch Realty

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