Costa Rica

Costa RicaCosta Rica is a Latin American country south of Nicaragua and north of Panama. About 90% are white or “Mestizo”, which is a person of mixed Amerindian and Spanish descent. The Spanish people are from Columbus’ explorations and Spanish conquests back in the 1500s. There is a small population of Asians and North Americans. Additionally, they have the purest European population in all of Central America.
Less than 1% of Costa Rican citizens are pure Indian. Less than 3% are black. Most black Costa Ricans live in Limón. Most of them came as slaves or workers from Jamaica. They came for jobs in railroads and banana plantations. About 35,000 of them live near the Caribbean coast. English is spoken by the West Indian blacks. 10- 15% of Costa Ricans are Nicaraguan.
Unlike some other Central American countries like Mexico and Peru, the indigenous people lived in several tribes, not empires. Most Indian groups were ruled by a “cacique”. The Indian population has been lessened by disease, so only about 9,000 remain. Few of that 9,000 are of pure aboriginal descent. There are 22 reserves for them to live in the country. In the past few years, many have been suffering from alcoholism and drugs. Most of the descendants live in the mountains. There is still some Indian culture but not pure.
The vast majority of people are middle-class. There isn’t much extreme poverty, but there is some. There isn’t nearly as much as other South American countries though. They don’t have much of an upper class either. Between 77 and 95 percent of Costa Ricans are Catholic. There is also a 93% literacy rate. The men there are called “ticos” and the women are known as “ticas”. Those terms are derived from “hermanticos” and “hermanticas”. They use “-ico” instead of the more commonly used “-ito”. The capital, San José is cultural center with theatre, opera and symphony. They are also peaceful people because most people came to start a family opposed to searching for gold. They also weren’t exposed to much violence during colonial times.
Costa Rica is known for their beans and rice. Their national dish, gallo pinto, is made of beans and rice fried together with spices, onions, and peppers. They have a lot of fried foods. Beef, chicken, and bass are the most popular meats. Shrimp and lobster are expensive since they are some of the main exports. Coffee is another main export. They also use many pesticides not allowed in many countries. Horchata is a popular, cinnamon-flavored cornmeal drink, and Fresco de Frutas, also popular, consists of fruit floating on kola and water. Many Costa Ricans also enjoy putting bananas in puddings, pies, and cakes.

Some of their favorite fruits are: papaya, pineapple, mango, watermelon, guava, lemons, blackberries, passion fruit, and avocados. They also drink green coconuts. Black beans are eaten a lot and corn is the most favored vegetable. Raw fish marinated in lemon juice is a popular appetizer. Refrescos are found nearly everywhere.

There are even more differences between eating in Costa Rica and in the U.S. than just what they eat. They also eat high fiber meals, much smaller than in the United States. Additionally, lunch is the main meal of the day, not dinner. This is so they have more energy in the day when they can work it off so it doesn’t turn into fat reserves while they sleep. Cordillera de Talamanca has a large Italian population. You can tell by the food there. Eastern Costa Rica has a Jamaican twist and many spices in their food.
The U.S. and Costa Rica have friendly relations. This is because of their respect for democracy, human freedoms, and free trade. The U.S. is Costa Rica’s main trading partner, and they generally support us. The United States accounts for nearly ½ of Costa Rica’s tourism, imports and exports and more than 2/3 of their foreign investment. Between 30 and 50 thousand U.S. citizens live there and over 700,000 visit there each year.
Back in the 1980s, the U.S. gave Costa Rica $1.1billion to help with their economy. In the 1990s, had a $4 billion debt. The U.S. paid off some of their debt in exchange for Costa Rica to conserve their forests. That was the biggest of these types of agreements. They continued helping them until 1996 when all U.S. programs ended.
Between 2000 and 2001, the U.S. gave 9 million dollars to support Hurricane Mitch refugees in Costa Rica. The U.S. Coast Guard also helps Costa Rica’s Coast Guard. Additionally, Peace Corps volunteers have been helping with: natural resources, small business development, environmental education, management, business education, urban youth, and community education.
Costa Rica is a unique country that is different from the United States. What they eat and how much they eat are not like it is here. Their main dish is rice and beans, and they also eat lunch as their main course instead of dinner. Like the U.S., most people are of European descent. The U.S also has had to help them with their economy a lot in the past several decades. Costa Rica is an extraordinary country.
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