Music is an important pastime in every country, and Costa Rica is no exception.  In this country, people love to listen to music any time, no matter where they are.  Costa Ricans (Ticos) like Latin music such as salsa, the ‘lambada’ from Brazil, and ‘soca’, a genre of Caribbean music, but they also enjoy a good American or British rock.  Folk music in Costa Rica is played with a popular percussion instrument called a ‘marimba’, and songs are about turning everything (poems, recipes, and so on) into music.

Music in Costa Rica
Night club in San Jose

On the streets you may find people carrying boom boxes and radios during the day.  At night, San Jose and other main cities open the nightclubs and the Ticos love to go out and dance.  Every night in the cafes, the owner usually hires a jazz musician, a singer, a band, or other artists to offer people a concert in their club.  Costa Ricans also love to go to the disco and dance all night long, and there are some places open from 9:00 p.m to 2:00 a.m.  But there are some other discos that are open the entire night. Many young people gather in these discotheques every weekend.

There are other provinces like Limon, Guanacaste, and the Caribbean coast where the popular music is a little different, but they also love to listen to it at any time of the day. For example, those from Limon prefer music with a more modern style, and many talented bands come from this region.  In Guanacaste they enjoy a more traditional style, and have their own dance called “el punto guanacasteo”, which uses maracas, marimba and chirimias to create their own unique sound.

Music in Costa Rica
Reggae music at the beach

On the Caribbean side, the influences of their Jamaican and African roots are very evident.  The popular music here is calypso, which is an African rhythm that utilizes steel drums to create that reggae beat.  Calypso songs generally tell a story. There are also talented reggae artists and bands that play at the local cafes found in this region.

So if you get tired of exploring forests, volcanoes, and the breath-taking range of natural spaces that Costa Rica has to offer you, that is not all there is to experience.  Put on your dancing shoes, get out your best dancing attire, and go have fun.  As Ticos say “Pura Vida”.

Music in Costa Rica
Salsa band warming up for the night out.

 Written by:  Florangel Alvarez

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