5 interesting facts about Costa Rica

Did you know these facts about Costa Rica?

1.  The sun rises and sets at around the same time 365 days a year. What determines this is the fact that Costa Rica is located between 8 and 11 degrees north of the equator. This means that throughout the whole year, the amount of daylight may fluctuate no more than 1 hour, which is the opposite to a country that is located further north or south where there is less daylight in the winter and more in the summer. The sunrise, then, occurs at approximately 5:30 a.m. and the sunset at about 5:30 p.m.

2.  In Costa Rica, as in many other countries, the plumbing for drains and toilets is old and the pipes are only one-inch wide. These pipes become easily clogged. That is why people cannot flush the toilet paper; instead, we put it in a small, covered trash can placed beside the toilet. Since many tourists do not follow this custom, it is common to see signs posted up in public restrooms stating the following:

Sign in a public restroom

3.  It is not common to see people blowing their noses in public. In fact, this custom is considered impolite, disgusting, and even embarrassing. The restroom is the appropriate place to do it.

4.  Most Costa Ricans do not usually say things up front because doing so is considered bad manners. If a person is very direct, “ticos” (Costa Ricans) might think he or she is rude. This occurs in order to save face. We beat around the bush and avoid saying ‘no’, all with the purpose of not hurting other people’s feelings.

5.  When giving directions in Costa Rica, meters and landmarks are used. For instance, “The school is 100 meters south and 50 meters east from the cathedral”. It is very common to make reference to landmarks which do not exist anymore, but which became well-known among people. Regarding tourist information, an address such as “between 21st and 23rd streets” might be given; however, Costa Ricans do not even know the name of the streets since that is not what we are familiar with.

Directions in Costa Rica


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About the author

Nuria Villalobos
My name is Nuria Villalobos and I'm Costa Rican. I am a current professor of English as a Foreign Language at Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica, and a former ISEP (International Student Exchange Program) student in the United States. I speak Portuguese and I am currently studying the Teaching of Spanish as a Second Language. I'm passionate about languages, cultures, photography and meeting people from different places.
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  • This is great!!! I do remember these things. Thanks for sharing them!
    In return, can I think of 5 interesting things about the United States?
    Well, to begin with:
    Almost everyone has to have their own car.
    Almost everyone has to pay $$$ for either air conditioning or heating, several months out of each year.
    I’ll try to think of some other universals… :-)

  • Nuria

    Thanks Connie!! :) Sure, go ahead and tell us more about the US!

  • rainwater

    helped with my report for school. thanks!

  • Nuria

    You’re welcome! ;)

  • thank you, you saved my life in my project :)

  • Great round up of “fun” facts about Costa Rica. It’s the little differences that make traveling and living overseas fun and interesting.

  • Nuria

    Thanks a lot! You’re totally right! ;) Those little differences are what make cultures so unique and special!

  • We sometimes laugh in England, that because there are so many pubs, especially in towns, some people find themselves giving directions using only pubs as landmarks. For example: “go down the road, turn left at the Red Lion then cross over at the Poacher’s, keep going and it’s opposite the Hope and Anchor”

    Of course it doesn’t mean they are obsessed with going to the pub, but it can sound like it!

  • Nuria

    Jijiji That’s so funny, Lucy!! :) We also give directions using bars jeje and many other places such as churches, supermarkets, restaurants, schools, etc.!

  • angel cannon

    um, jeje? are u trying to laugh?

  • Nuria

    Yes! In Spanish we use “jaja”, “jeje” or “jiji” to laugh. The letter “j” in Spanish sounds like the letter “h” in English. That’s why we don’t write “haha” but “jaja” ;) It’s interesting to see how laughter is expressed differently depending on the language, right?

  • Kaity

    in America it isn’t impolite to blow your nose in public……. its normal here

  • Nuria

    Yes, in the “United States” (America is the whole continent), everybody does that…I remember that was one of the first shocking things for me when I was living there…but I could never do it myself ;)

  • lizzie

    thanks you rock this helped me so much i 100% love this thank you (again)

  • Nuria

    You’re very welcome, Lizzie! I’m glad it helped you! ;)