2. In most areas people cannot flush toilet paper because the pipes are old and only 1” wide, so toilet paper goes in the trash basket.
3. Pedestrians have very few rights in Costa Rica. They joke that Ticos love to use their horns but hate to use their brakes! It’s so bad that the Tico word for “speedbumps” is “Son muertos,” or, “The dead people.”
4. When raising your glass or beer to say “cheers” to Ticos you are supposed to look them directly in the eye, or else you’re cursed with seven years of a bad sex life. (apparently I haven’t been making very good eye contact, then).
5. Costa Ricans have no addresses and very few street signs. When mailing something or giving directions, they just point out proximity to nearby landmarks. So when I lived in San Pedro, a suburb of the main city, San Jose, my address was “50 meters south and 100 west of the church of San Pedro.”
6. Earthquakes are common in Costa Rica. They may get 2-40 per month depending on the movement of techtonic plates. Almost all of them are small, though they got a 7.6 last time I was living there.
7. Costa Ricans are not good at soccer compared to their Central and South American neighbors!
8. Ticos put coffee in their babies bottles along with milk, and also give it to young children.
9. The most popular national beer is Imperial. They drink it over ice with lime and salt, called a “michelada.”
10. "Guaro" is the national liquor, sort of like a fire-water sugarcane tequila. There is no denying it's strong, but I find it kind of nasty.
12. The meter in a taxicab is know as the “Maria,” which is a loose reference to the Virgin Mary and her honesty and virtue.
13. Cheap brand cigarettes are only about $1.65 per pack.
14. You aren’t allowed to wear sunglasses or hats inside of the banks (due to so many robberies)
15. The slang is much different than proper Spanish. Slang is called “pachuco.”
16. One slang word is to call someone “Mopri.” This is supposed to mean “primo,” or cousin, backwards. In the 90’s Costa Rican teen culture went through a phase where they were saying words backwards. Maybe around the time of Kriss Kross here in the US?
17. A lot of popular bands play the main stadium in San Jose, most recently the Red Hot Chili Peppers and then Lady Gaga.
18. Scientist actually named a species of Costa Rican fern after Lady Gaga after she played there. I’m not making that up!
19. They have bullfights in CR but instead of the bull being harmed, it runs free around the ring and tries to harm the brave teens and men who jump in there for sport. Almost every little town has a festival with bullfights during the holidays.
20. CR is one of the biggest cocaine transit nations in the world, as 90% of the cocaine that ends up in the US comes from Columbia to Costa Rica, and then up through Central America into Mexico and across the border.
21. There are roughly the same criminal penalties for marijuana as there are for cocaine and all drugs
22. Robert August brought the surf scene to Costa Rica with his 1968 documentary, Endless Summer, and then Endless Summer II.
23. If you get pulled over in Costa Rica the police can probably be paid off for around $40.
24. You are not allowed to wear shorts in a government or public office in Costa Rica - they see it as disrespectful and may turn you away.
25. They say there are Three Great Costa Rica Lies. It took me a year of living in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, to find them all out. They are a bit secretive but I do reveal them in my new book, South of Normal.
If you liked these, check out 30 Fun and Wild Facts about Costa Rica.