Ticos and their Customs

The Ticos are the citizens born in the Central American country of Costa Rica.

Ticos are very cosmopolitan, especially those from San Jose, the capital. Or from another large province, such as Alajuela.

They are also friendly, and open. They are actually all about courtesy and common sense.

As a foreign citizen, you may want to avoid discussions related to religion; or to the country itself.

The Ticos are very nice, and they usually avoid arguments. And with that said, this passive behavior has its negative side.

This is because is not uncommon for Ticos to say yes when they mean no.

And they do it just to avoid a conflict; or unwanted situation at the moment.

In essence, Ticos are non-committal.

They also hate to appear foolish. And don’t like to admit they don’t know something.

Greetings and Ticos

When meeting Ticos, it’s best to follow their lead. If they are open, then be open! Most of them are.

Now, when kissing between friends, Ticos kiss just one cheek, not two, like in Europe.

Here are two gestures related to Costa Rica citizens to consider:

  • When asking for the bill at a place that is very crowded; you can just mime signing the bill to the waiter.
  • To tell others that a place is full, bring all the fingertips of one hand up, together.

Conversations with Ticos

Striking up a conversation with a Tico is not difficult. And even though there are no off-limit areas, some Ticos are very conservative. So, this is an important fact to remember.

Costa Rica citizens are very well informed. This is because they read a lot; and since many are bilingual, they consume a lot of international media on a regular basis.

Now, gossiping is very common. And when it comes to insults, be careful, as personal criticism can be taken as a very serious matter.

On the positive side, Ticos are usually very romantic, and always ready to meet new people from everywhere.

The piropo is the signature romantic vocal gesture of the Tico.

Piropos are so popular in the country, that sociologists have taken the job of compiling the most common ones.

Names and Surnames of Ticos

Ticos have both a paternal and a maternal surname. It is not uncommon that their middle name is related to the saint on whose day they were born.

Religious names are very popular among Costa Rica citizens. But there is also a fascination among Ticos for Anglo-Saxon first names.

In Costa Rica, many people have nicknames. And although some aliases may sound offensive, in reality, they are just a mark of camaraderie between Ticos.

La Pulperia of the Ticos

A pulperia is the equivalent of a corner shop. ┬áThese can be found all over the country. Especially on “barrios”, the local neighborhoods.

These pulperias not only sell groceries, but in many occasions, they also double up as a center for socializing. This is particularly true of the countryside pulperias.

Some pulperias even work with a credit system, only available to regular clients.

Dress Style And Personal Image

Ticos care a lot about their personal appearance, and they certainly dress to impress.

American and European brands are very popular.

And, there is a strong tendency from young adult Ticos towards piercings and tattoos.

Dress style varies depending on the area, and the culture.

People living in cities tend to dress more formal and conservative; while those Ticos living on the coast usually exhibit a more relaxed and chillier style.