85% of Costa Ricans define themselves as very happy people. The population of the country -a little more than 5 million inhabitants- has a strong belief in family and work values. In addition, they know how important it is to have a positive attitude, be practical and, above all, want to be well for them and theirs, seasoning their day to day with their most interesting customs.

"Ticos" are very rooted to their customs.
Couple of “ticos” dancing in typical costume

They are a mixture of several cultures. Each region has its own history and that is why Costa Ricans are not only proud of the unique natural beauty of the country, but also of political stability, which some neighboring countries, unfortunately, are still far from achieving.

A great peculiarity that we can find in this wonderful Caribbean paradise, and that today we will tell you how our name is affectionately called among them “Ticos and Ticas” and how this popular way of calling to each of our inhabitants. If you live in Costa Rica, or just visiting, business trip, pleasure, or tourism we introduce this wonderful peculiarity to you.

Maybe you did not know it, and now it will make much more sense if someone approaches affectionately and say “Tico” to you, then you will know why it is. Here we will reveal some details of this kind of nickname, and how it has become an essential part of us.

The 1st time that a Costa Rican expressed the word “Tico”, it goes back to the 1st half of the 19th century, at that time they defined themselves as “Costarrica”, that is to say, they were used in the plural in this way (the Costarricas). By the way, it should be noticed as the name of the country, and a not very clear definition of how the natives of these wonderful lands should have been called.

But in contrast to this tradition, the nickname “Tico” was born and took much greater force than “the Costarrica” during the Central American war against the filibusters during 1856 and 1857, this singular way of being called comes from during those moments of combat they realized that the natives of Costa Rica all called it in an ultra-diminutive way. For example jovencito, chiquitico, gatica, among many other diminutives.

"Ticos" are essentially happy people.
“Ticos” are essentially happy people

Due to this custom, Costa Ricans pointed to their compatriots as “hermaniticos”, which had been a comic and affectionate way of calling them, brothers. It is there where, with the passage of time, this phrase, to make it shorter, ended up being “Ticos”, which quickly caught the inhabitant of these lands. There has been so much popularity of this form of calling among themselves, that today they are still mentioned as “Ticos” and “Ticas” to know, designate, and even differentiate between other cultures of the globe.

Nowadays the same country is made known by its own and visitors with a very curious diminutive that is an essential part of the Costa Rican culture and dialect. Even more than one affirms that this type of nickname is just for affection, and it causes to feel more rootedness to your land in many ways. The country is also known as Tiquicia, because, by affection and attachment to their own, the Costa Ricans colloquially designate their country in this way.

It has been so popular the form used by its own natives to call their country, that in other parts of the world this beautiful land is also known with the peculiar nickname of “Tiquicia”. This is done by the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Venezuela El Salvador, and Spain -especially in the towns of Navarra, Murcia, and Andalusia.

Where and when to say “Pure Life”?

On the other hand, coupled with all this topic of nicknames, “Pure Life” is an expression that if you are Tico, you will know how to say it at the right time. It is also used to designate or give prominence to a particular object or element. This phrase is quite used to know how you are going, how you feel and how the whole situation you are in is going.

"Pura Vida" represents the Costa Rican way of life.
“Pura Vida” ideogram

So you already know this phrase you will hear it quite often in the street, the house or any meeting where you attend with the faithful purpose of having fun and having the best time. This catchy phrase reveals how life in Costa Rica is the way Costa Ricans see life. That is, with tranquility, simplicity, optimism, joy, and desire to move forward without anything that can stop them.

Now you know more about our customs. Without a doubt, Costa Rica is a paradise to fall in love every day.

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