Costa Ricans are also colloquially called ticos. They have a rich culture full of traditions, originating both from the indigenous and from the colonial era. In this article, we will tell you about some of their most interesting customs.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

Indigenous people

In Costa Rica today eight indigenous ethnic groups are preserved whose aboriginal tradition has been preserved over the years. They are as follows:

  • Boruca
  • Bribri
  • Cabecares
  • chorotegas
  • huetares
  • Malekus
  • Ngöbe
  • teribes

The chorotegas They live in the north of Costa Rica, especially in Matambú, Guanacaste, and have Mayan and Aztec influences. One of the activities that stands out in their culture is the production of vessels and figures with clay pottery. They are polytheistsThey believe in different gods, such as Tipotani and Nenguitamali. In addition, they consider the crocodile to be a sacred animal.

As for snatches, still inhabit around 10.000. It is striking that they build their houses quite apart from each other, several kilometers apart, as they like to enjoy a certain independence from each other.

Likewise, ngobe, Also known as guaymies, they manufacture clothes with natural fibers and vegetable dyes. The result is a colorful textile that they wear themselves.

If you want to know more about indigenous people of Central America, we recommend the following article: Ethnic groups of Central America and their characteristics.


Masquerades are groups of people disguised with handmade masks that walk, chase people and dance through the streets during holidays. Such is their importance, that they even have their special day: October 31 is the National Day of the Traditional Costa Rican Masquerade.

The history of this custom is diverse, since it mixes some indigenous traditions with the festival of Giants and big headeds held in some parts of Spain.

The characters that are represented with the masks are called mantudos o clowns. To make them, they are first molded with mud. Afterwards, several layers of paper are put on them, the clay base is removed and an iron framework is added. The mantudos they are accompanied by small music bands called maroons.

Religious celebrations

Costa Rican society is closely linked to religion, specifically to Catholic Christianity. For this reason, some of its most important festivals are religious.

One of them is the Pilgrimage. In it, people walk from anywhere in Costa Rica to the Basilica of the Angels, in Cartago. In it, a mass is celebrated on August 2 in honor of the Virgin of the Angels, also known as the Bold, patroness of the country.

Another important date in the country is Holy Week. On Good Friday, the Lagarteada is celebrated in Ortega de Bolsón, Guanacaste. This consists of hunting crocodiles in the Tempisque River, taking them to the center of town and then releasing them again (in the past they were killed).

Among the different religious celebrations, Christmas stands out. The decoration element is the portal o small step, words with which the manger is known, a set of figures that represent the scene of the birth of Jesus.

On December 24 at midnight, it is common for people to go to the Midnight mass. Likewise, for some it is Santa Claus who brings the gifts, but for others it is the Christ Child.

The Zapote festivities in San José are known throughout the country. They begin on December 25 and last until the first week of January. In it the cumshots to the tica, in which people run and fight the bull without actually hurting it. Around the bullring they mount we china, the fair booths.

Likewise, on December 26, the San José National Tope is organized, in which a parade is carried out in which a significant number of riders participate.

At New Year's Eve, among the customs that we find are those of eating twelve grapes, taking a walk or leaving a suitcase at the door to attract travel, or carrying a Saint Lucia flower in the wallet to have fortune in the new year.

Among the different food dishes, the one that stands out the most is the pork tamale, which families usually make at home. This one has the following ingredients:

  • Banana leaves
  • Corn dough
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Beef
  • Vegetables
  • Sweet pepper
  • Rice
  • Chickpeas
  • Green peas

Food customs

The basic ingredients of the diet of the Ticos or Costa Ricans are corn, rice and beans. In addition to the tamales, which we have talked about previously, they have other typical dishes.

One of them is the rooster chick, which is made up of rice, beans, potato, yucca and ripe banana or squash, a type of pumpkin. Yellow corn tortillas with cheese are also regularly prepared.

Likewise, coffee is an important drink in the country, as it has been one of the bases of the economy for centuries. The coffee in this area is considered one of the best in the world.

Afro-Caribbean culture

In the city of LemonOn the Caribbean coast, the population of Afro-Caribbean origin is concentrated. These people denounce that their culture is invisible in the country despite being closely linked to that of Costa Ricans.

On August 31, the Day of the Black Person and Afro-Costa Rican Culture is celebrated. In Limón, exhibitions, concerts, conferences and many other activities are organized.

The most important act is the parade, called Gala Grand Parade, in which people wear typical costumes of this culture from colonial times to the present day.


The night before the wedding celebration, it is customary for the groom to serenade the bride through the streets of the city to express his love for her.

On the other hand, in the indigenous people snatches, it is allowed for men to marry more than one woman. These are usually done with the sisters of his first wife. It is this first woman who rules the others.


El guanacasteco point The Costa Rican point is considered the national dance. This one is danced in pairs. The rhythm of the music is fast and stomping is common.

During the dance, the man chases the woman and the two flirt. The women wear a white blouse and a long skirt. At the end of the dance, the dancer usually kisses the man.

Another traditional dance of the folklore of Costa Rica is the Torito. In this typical Guanacaste dance, the man imitates the bull and tries to kiss the woman, while the woman emulates the bullfighter.


When it comes to doing business, Costa Ricans are not strict about punctuality. The meetings are not too long and it is important for them to be able to trust each other. Appointments have to be arranged in advance, but it is advisable to confirm them a few days before.

When you have to greet each other, the common thing is to shake hands, unless you have a closer relationship. In that case, women are given a kiss and men a hug.

As for the business cards, they are delivered on the side in which the language the person speaks appears and it is not very well seen that they are written on top of them.

The boyeo and the cart

This tradition is Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. He buoy It was the activity of raising animals, while the cart is a means of transport that has existed in the country since colonial times.

This is linked to peasant life, as it served both for field work and for transporting goods and people. The carts were built in a traditional way and, with the passage of time, it became customary for them to be decorated. Traditionally, each wagon makes a different sound.

Thanks to the preservation of this tradition, to this day carts are still being made and decorated throughout the country, but due to technological advances they are no longer usually used for work.

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