In my Spanish class, as I have mentioned a few times, we often talk about controversial things and within that we often hear about Costa Rican culture. These are a few things that I have noticed in our discussions, as well as just being out and about in the city.

1.       They don’t like street signs!

This is a VERY interesting and challenging phenomenon of Tiko culture. There are no street names, everyone references directions to certain well known landmarks, and the people tend to not really be too concerned with exact locations. Por allá (aka that general direction) is a very common phrase here. The directions are often “We live 50m east of the mango tree” –ok yeah.. which mango tree? And yet somehow they still always manage to find their way. Its incredible. Gladys mentioned it stemmed from a sense of small community that they had back in the 40s, and though the city has grown and technology has advanced tradition has remained so they still feel that same sense of small community, regardless of how inconvenient it is for anyone else. And its incredible because those types of instructions still hold true when you are traveling to a city 4 hours away. You may have no idea what the city is like, but they will still give you “Tiko directions” referencing the mango tree. Also, if you go to the bank to set up an account and you need an address the address would be something like

                “The blue house on the right side of the road, 60 meters west of the Farmacia”

And that is the legitimate address that you put in your bank account. Needless to say, if you paint your house it causes serious issues.

2.       They don’t have door bells

This is extremely difficult when we go to visit other friends on the team because we don’t have phones to tell them we are at the house, and all the houses have huge iron gates in front so we can’t knock on the door. It is a little challenging to get into these places.


3.       They LOVE their horns

I swear the Tikos are compulsive horn honkers. The taxis of course honk at you when you are walking to see if you want a ride, but we white women certainly get honks from all kinds of strange men if we are walking down the side of the road. But not only that, the bus drivers are super impatient and they are always honking at the other cars and busses, etc. It’s crazy!


I am sure there are lots more that I am forgetting right now, but as I remember them I will post them up. I can’t believe I have less than one week left here in Costa Rica before I head out to Honduras. So crazy! If you can just pray for understanding of Spanish, patience, and


Doreen Van Leeuwen
7/12/2010 12:44:19

Thank you so so so much for keeping this blog up to date. It's so great when you have a new post up, let alone three! It's inspiring to hear how your positive outlook helps turn a lame experience into a good one. Prayers for you well-being continue to go up. Hard to believe you have nearly got a month in! I say, cram all the Spanish you can into that sweet head of yours and know that God is doing a good work through your life. Love you!1

7/14/2010 03:26:02

check out

8/14/2012 18:52:46

thank u so much.

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