Central Valley Life
Nearly 3.5 million of Costa Rica's almost 5 million people live in a region called the central valley. As there are no street names in Costa Rica, that is a lot of folks moving around spaces that are defined only by verbal direction based on landmark. One of the ways that people are still able to navigate without getting lost is by the fact that every church faces west, all the towns have a soccer field and small store, and subdivisions are all named based on different developments in their heritage.
Catholicism is the religion of choice, as claimed by 76% of current Costa Rican residents. This came mostly from the Spanish settlers who took over in the 1500s, primarily landing in the central valley because of the available land for natural resources. Today there are community squares, celebrations and holidays, all marked by pura vida.
Like "aloha" in Hawaii, there is a common greeting, goodbye, and general colloquialism shared among individuals here: pura vida, which translates into "pure life." It is an absolute wonderful feeling to share with neighbors and friends, frequently adding comfort to interpersonal encounters. This flair of speech has been around since the middle of the 20th century.
City life is modern, with dining and shopping and hustle and bustle, especially considering 1.5 million people live in the San Jose metropolitan area. Here is where 4 of Costa Rica's 7 "states" come together as cities that bear the names of the larger areas bordered together. They are San Jose, Cartago, Heredia, and Alajuela. Though separated by lines on a map, these places truly create one single urban hotspot.
Tourists are recommended to have a reservation in advance, especially during the months of December and May. Central valley visits offer easy drives to other locations around Costa Rica, but also have a plethora of options cities and nearby suburbs. Whether it is the hustle and bustle, or the local plantation coffee growers, there is plenty of Costa Rican life to experience here!