If for some weird reason I was forced to describe Ticos in one word, I probably would say “welcoming.” Costa Ricans love their country and really want visitors to as well. Here are two recent examples of such hospitality we’ve been lucky enough to encounter.
La Liga Futbol
Brice wanted to experience a Costa Rican soccer game and one of my coworkers generously offered to take us to a home game of his team, Alajuelense – more commonly called La Liga. Before the game, Gabriel and his wife invited us over to their newly built, super modern home so we could enjoy some traditional emapandas filled with beans and cheese (yum!) and coffee.
At the game, the woman on my left, who did not know any of us, kept offering to show me photos of animals she’s encountered, from beautiful birds to a very scary looking caterpillar with fur and what definitely looked like big fangs. I’m not exactly sure why, but I took it as a sign she wanted to showcase interesting things she’s seen to the gringo next to her.
Or perhaps she just wasn’t that into the futbol game… but La Liga did win 3-0 against the league’s current champions so she should have been excited!
This past weekend after Brice summited Cerro Chirripó (the country’s tallest mountain at 12,228 feet!), we met back on the Pacific Coast. This time around, we elected to do a homestay after we had such an awesome experience in Mexico.
We were welcomed into the gorgeous home of Pilar and Huy situated in the small beach town of Uvita. Given how hot and humid it is there year-round and how expensive electricity is in Costa Rica, they built their house without windows or solid walls. Instead, only screens surround the entire space, with 10 fans constantly roaring about to provide a nice breeze throughout the day.
This couple is so sweet and gracious. As an extremely talented artist, Pilar’s paintings decorate the house, along with fresh flowers and green plants everywhere. Pilar is the quintessential hostess, always offering us something to eat or drink. “Cerveza?” “No, Pilar, esta 10am, esta bien!” “Jugo? Fruta? Agua?” She is so sweet and really wanted us to be comfortable.
Our stay helped solidify why we are learning Spanish, as she doesn’t speak English but with our limited Spanish, we were still able to have several great conversations with her (ok ok, and occasionally we were aided by Huy who does speak English…).
While sometimes these options are a little scary, going into someone else’s space and forcing yourself into a challenging language situation, being able to meet locals and learn more about life in Costa Rica is part of what makes this experience so special.
I’m proud to say we’re pushing ourselves to say yes to these opportunities. So far, so good!