Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

Today is Mother's Day in Costa Rica. It's a day when families come together to honor their mothers by sitting around and drinking the traditional Mother's Day drink: alcohol. Whether your family drinks Imperial or Pilsen depends on your individual family's traditions, as does your choice of mixers with whiskey (some families swear by Coke, while my in-laws prefer ginger ale). In fact, to the untrained eye, Mother's Day can look quite a lot like Father's Day. Today we'll discuss a few ways to tell Read more [...]

The Virgin of Los Angeles

I know what you're thinking: "There are virgins in Los Angeles??" Well, probably not, but that's not the Los Angeles or the virgin we're talking about here today. I'm talking about the Virgin, María, and her avid fan base in Costa Rica. "La Vírgen de los Ángeles," in case you really weren't paying attention at all in junior high school Spanish class, means "the virgin of the angels." If you're interested, you can read more here, but she's basically an incarnation of Mary. She's also the Read more [...]

Meet The Meat: Tongue

If you go to the meat counter at most any Costa Rican supermarket, you're likely to come across this: That's right, it's cow tongues! In the future I'll be posting more articles about Costa Rican food, but I wanted to mention a few general things about Costa Rican cuisine first. As we saw before, geographically, Costa Rica is not Puerto Rico. In that same vein, culinarily, Costa Rica is not Mexico, no matter how hard you wish it to be. In general Costa Rican food is definitely not spicy, Read more [...]

“Holy Week”

Today is the first day of semana santa, or "holy week" in Costa Rica. Like most of Latin America, Costa Rica is Catholic, or at least ostensibly Catholic. In reality, whether a person is observant and goes to church really boils down to personal inclinations and familial traditions, but almost everyone is observant of one aspect semana santa: vacation! This week is possibly best described as a religious holiday tainted by a Spring Break ethos (or maybe even vice-versa). Most schools and public Read more [...]

Costa Rica Isn’t Puerto Rico!? (Plus Four Other Useful Tips)

If you're planning a trip to Costa Rica, or even if you're just curious about the country, there are a few things that you should know before you come here. Here's a crash course in the top five important things to know about Costa Rica that came to my mind as I wrote this: 1. Costa Rica is not Puerto Rico. This is a controversial point, but no matter how much you try to insist on this issue, you'll notice that the normally easygoing Costa Ricans won't budge on this matter. With this fact also Read more [...]