Pura Vida! Mission Discovery is thrilled to be adding Costa Rica to our mission trip options in 2024! Costa Rica is not only known for its stunning natural beauty, including lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and breathtaking volcanoes, but it also boasts a vibrant and diverse culture that’s a joy to explore.
Here are some of our favorite things about the Costa Rican culture:
1. Warm and Welcoming “Ticos” and “Ticas”:
Costa Ricans are affectionately known as “Ticos” (for men) and “Ticas” (for women). Their friendly and welcoming nature is a hallmark of Costa Rican culture. It’s not uncommon to hear warm greetings and smiles from the locals as you explore this beautiful country. The “Ticos” and “Ticas” are known for their hospitality and willingness to share their culture with visitors. It’s not uncommon for mission trip volunteers to be invited into homes to talk for hours with people they just met. Interacting with “Ticos” and “Ticas” is an essential part of experiencing the true essence of Costa Rican culture. These people will truly bless your life and help you to experience a different perspective.
2. The Pura Vida Lifestyle:
Ticos and Ticas proudly embrace the “Pura Vida” way of life, which translates to “pure life” in English. Whether you’re saying “Hello,” “Goodbye,” or “How’s it going?,” “Pura Vida” is always the correct phrase. “Pura Vida” encapsulates the essence of Costa Rican culture, emphasizing a laid-back, positive, and carefree approach to life.
3. Coffee Culture:
Costa Rica is renowned for its exceptional coffee beans. Coffee production has been a vital part of the country’s history and culture for centuries. Coffee farms, known as “cafetales,” offer visitors the chance to learn about the coffee-making process, from harvesting ripe beans to brewing the perfect cup. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor a cup of freshly brewed Costa Rican coffee during your mission trip! Our ministry partners in San Jose have already informed us that we should schedule ample time for coffee breaks when planning our 2024 mission trip.
4. Diverse Cuisine:
Costa Rican cuisine is a delightful blend of flavors influenced by indigenous, Spanish, and African cultures. Traditional dishes like Gallo Pinto (a mix of rice and black beans), Casado (a plate with rice, beans, meat or fish, and plantains), and Tamales are staples that offer a delicious taste of the country’s culinary heritage. Oh, and the fruit is just absolutely wonderful. A banana in the United States is nothing compared to a banana in Costa Rica. Be sure to explore the local markets and street food stalls to experience these mouthwatering delights.
5. Pre-Columbian History:
Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus, Costa Rica was inhabited by several indigenous tribes. Today, you can visit archaeological sites and museums to learn about their rich history and view artifacts such as pottery, stone carvings, and tools. The Boruca people, known for their colorful masks and intricate weaving, continue to preserve their cultural traditions through art and festivals.
6. Festivals and Celebrations:
Costa Ricans love to celebrate, and you might be fortunate enough to experience one of their vibrant festivals during your mission trip. The Fiestas Patronales (patron saint festivals) are celebrated throughout the country, featuring lively parades, traditional dances, and vibrant costumes. The National Carnival in San Jose, held in December, is a fantastic spectacle of music, dance, and elaborate floats.
7. Wildlife Conservation:
Costa Rica’s commitment to environmental preservation is deeply ingrained in its culture. With nearly 30% of its land protected in national parks and reserves, the country is a biodiversity hotspot. You can observe unique wildlife, including sloths, monkeys, toucans, and jaguars, in their natural habitats.
8. Art and Crafts:
Costa Rica boasts a thriving art scene, with numerous galleries and workshops showcasing the talent of local artists. The country is known for its intricate wood carvings, vibrant paintings, and colorful textiles. Be sure to explore the art markets and galleries to bring home a piece of Costa Rican creativity as a mission trip souvenir.
As Mission Discovery prepares for its Costa Rican adventure in 2024, we’re thrilled to explore these cultural gems and more. Costa Rica’s culture is as diverse as its landscapes, offering a warm and inviting atmosphere for travelers. Whether you’re captivated by the “Pura Vida” spirit or the rich history and traditions, this trip promises to be an unforgettable journey into the heart of Central America’s cultural treasure. Click the link below to learn more about this mission trip and the service projects we will be doing!
Stay tuned for more updates on our upcoming mission to Costa Rica, where we’ll not only immerse ourselves in its vibrant culture but also contribute to the community in meaningful ways. Until then, Pura Vida!