Costa Rica Culture
Costa Rica is not just a land of beaches, black beans, and coffee. It is a treasure trove of natural landscapes, exotic birds and mammals and cultural diversity.
Costa Rica's socio-political, cultural, and religious consciousness was significantly shaped by the Spanish colonial rule and the Catholic Church. Most Costa Ricans are of Spanish descent. There are remnants of the Amerindian cultures that lived here before the Spaniards came, and a very small portion of the population is Amerindian.
Costa Rica is a developing country and the smallest country in Central America. It is divided into five distinct geographical zones: the Central Valley, the Caribbean coast, the Central Pacific, the Northern zone, and the Northern Pacific.
The Central Valley is Costa Rica's most populated region, as it includes the country's cosmopolitan capital, San José. Costa Rica's coffee boom began in the valley, with the first plantations tilled on the slopes of the dormant Barva Volcano. Coffee is still the country's best-known export andn is part of the Costa Rica culture make-up. It made many local planters rich, and they not only shaped the country's economy, but handed down a magnificent and significant legacy: the Teatro Nacional, widely considered Costa Rica's most beautiful building, built from coffee taxes. The Central Valley continues to witness an increase in residential and commercial real estate development.
The Northern and Central Pacific coasts have some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and the Caribbean Coast has a Jamaican beat that is unique in the country. Costa Rica
is the most visited nation in Central America. It receives about two million visitors every year, many of them eco-tourists drawn to the country's beautiful and protected marine and forest areas and ifectious Costa Rican culture. Costa Rica has built up one of the most successful ecotourism industries in the world. It is the country's second largest source of the income after silicon chip production. However, large developments such as high-rise hotels and the growing number of tourists to protected sites have begun to have a negative effect on the environment.
The government strives to protect and preserve the country's rich biodiversity through the establishment of national parks. These protected areas include volcanoes and virgin forests, wildlife reserves, and several beaches.
Internationally, the most famous artists from Costa Rica are musicians, particularly the group Editus who won a Grammy for their work with Panamanian Ruben Blades. Another recognized artist is sculptor Jorge Jimenez Deredia, who in 2005 placed a work in the Vatican, a sculpture of Saint Marcellin Champagnat, commissioned by Pope John Paul II as part of his plan to fill the niches.
While the art scene culture is not up to European levels, you will find a surprising variety of theaters, art galleries and performances by international artists considering the size of the country and its small population. There are also numerous museums, the most popular being the National Museum, the Jade Museum, the Gold Museum and the Children's Museum.