Costa Rican Food: Rice and Beans

Quick, how do you say "rice and beans" in Spanish? Arroz con frijoles? Frijoles con arroz? Well, those are both kind of right, but if you're in the Caribbean part of Costa Rica, you just say "Rice and Beans." Sure, the pronunciation is a bit different, maybe a little more staccato, but the real difference is in the flavor. I've mentioned before that in many ways, Costa Rican cooking is somewhat bland, at least for my tastes. When people visit, they expect it to be like Mexican food, but are Read more [...]

An Interesting Article About Costa Rica

Hello! It's been a while since I wrote a post, but that's mainly because the last post, asking whether Costa Rica was the "happiest country in the world," got a lot of interest, at least based on the standards of this blog. I was happy to get so many comments, both on the site and in person, so thanks to everyone who read it. I also wanted to share this article from The Independent in England that's been going around. It gives a good overview about Costa Rica and why it's perhaps unique, although Read more [...]

Is Costa Rica Really “The Happiest Country In The World”?

Even if you've never been to Costa Rica, you may have heard it described as "The happiest country in the world." And if you have been here, it's almost certain you've heard that slogan, especially since there's now a sign that proclaims "Welcome to the happiest country in the world" or something very much like that as you ride the escalator to immigration at the San Jose airport. I've been hearing that phrase for almost 8 years now, and it's been on my mind a lot. In my class today we Read more [...]

A New President For Costa Rica

Today was the run-off election, so Costa Rica now has a new President-elect: As I mentioned in the last post, the first round of the election was in February, but no candidate got more than 40% of the votes, so they had to move to a second round between the top two candidates. In fact, the polling before the first round proved to be absurdly bad, as usual. It said that the party in power, PLN (National Liberation Party) would probably get more than 40%, but their candidate got around 29%. Read more [...]

5 Things Costa Rica Does Well In Elections

Today is the election in Costa Rica. Like in many places, it's once every four years, and today they're choosing the new President and congressional representatives. I won't get into the different candidates, since any way I did it I'd be sure to alienate some people. So instead I'll focus on the positive aspects of the Costa Rican political system. I've chosen to quickly highlight five things that I like about the system here, and which I wish were commonplace in other countries. Again, this may Read more [...]

Costa Rica, Soccer, and Snow

As a kid I played all sorts of sports in the snow during recess and let me tell you: Playing soccer in the snow is freaking awesome! I didn't actually watch the game, but after seeing pictures and watching news recaps, my wife and I couldn't stop laughing, because the pictures were so hilarious. Using shovels to clear the field? Sliding all over the place? A stadium covered in white? Sweet! But I'll admit that all that awesomeness doesn't necessarily lead to scoring goals, and if your trip to the World Cup is on the line, I can understand how it would be frustrating. Read more [...]

Citizen Sitzman

What has two thumbs and is now officially a Costa Rican? THIS GUY! I recently got Costa Rican citizenship (but without the intention of giving up my American citizenship, dear reader...and dear reader at the American Embassy!). I got it because after being married to a Costa Rican and residing in the country for two years, it's given to people who ask for it. So I asked for it, mainly because I hated renewing my residency every few years, which was an annoying and costly process. So now I Read more [...]