Costa Rica

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


October 26, 2011 15 comments

Cultural differences: Costa Rica vs Colombia

This video was made by a team of Costa Rican students and explores some of the differences between Colombia and Costa Rica. They look at physical characteristics, interview a Colombian and then compare cultural values and common stereotypes of both countries. Look out for the fun ending!


September 22, 2011 Comments disabled

Hand gestures from around the world

Hand gestures play an essential role in nonverbal communication. However, the same gesture may have different meanings -or even none- in different cultures. This collaborative post is an effort to bridge that gap.

India – Namaste

namaste gesture

Namaste (India)

Namaste literally means “I bow down to you”, or “Salutations to you”, but it is used in the sense a handshake is used in the western world. For us, no matter whether the person we greet is older or younger, important or not, a man or a woman, he/she has to be greeted with due respect, and the most common way is to join our hands as you can see my son doing in the image, and say, “Namaste”.  When we are greeting an older person or someone important, we bow down a bit. This shows the additional respect due to that person. (more…)

September 14, 2011 12 comments

My Single Story: the view from Costa Rica

Inspired by writer Chimamanda Adichie’s talk on The Danger of a Single Story, some of my students from Univesidad Nacional, Costa Rica wrote about their experiences of the single story trap.

We’ve posted about this inspiring talk before on PocketCultures, but here it is again.

The reactions from Costa Rica

When I heard the speech of Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story, I felt ashamed because as she said when I heard about Africans I think about black people, very thin, starving and with AIDS. The funny thing: that was my single story.

I think that she gave us a very good lesson about single stories. Also when she talked about Mexicans in front of Americans probably some of them also felt ashamed because they criticize them very much, not only Mexicans but also Latin-American people.

María José Rodríguez


July 28, 2011 6 comments

Picture Postcards: Costa Rican lunch

Today’s photo is from Nuria in Costa Rica. It’s a typical Costa Rican lunch dish called casado.

According to Nuria, this is just one variation of casado. She wrote:


July 18, 2011 4 comments

Always evolving: some languages of the world and where they come from

This month’s collaborative post was inspired by a conversation between some of our contributors about languages and how much they ‘borrow’ words from one another. Malay has words from English, Turkish has words from French, English has words from Hindi, Spanish has words from Arabic. Not to mention the massive way in which European languages have influenced each other.

So here’s a look at the history and foreign influences of some of the languages spoken by PocketCultures contributors around the world.

It’s a long article, so if you’re interested in a particular country use these links: India, UK, France, Canada, Turkey, Spain, Argentina, Costa Rica, Portugal, Malaysia.

India: Hindi, English, Tamil, Marathi and many more!

Languages in India are as varied and complex as the country itself. The 2001 census estimated that there were 29 languages spoken by more than a million native speakers, 122 by more than 10,000!

We have 22 ‘official’ regional languages spoken across the country, but no ‘national language’. Hindi is often mistakenly referred to as the ‘national language’, but the constitution lists it as our ‘principal official language’. Where does Hindi come from? Well, it’s a language which evolved from a dialect spoken in northern India during the Mughal period, was influenced by Persian, and is closest to Urdu – the language today identified with Islam!


July 15, 2011 9 comments