Prior to coming to Costa Rica, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I’ve never been to any country in Central or South America, but I had learned about some South American cultures throughout my time learning Spanish in high school. However, learning culture from a book doesn’t compare in the slightest to learning through first-hand experiences. So I decided to come with an open mind to Costa Rica, and soak up as much of the local culture and language while I can.
One of the first things I noticed and really admire about Heredia so far is the plethora of flowers, especially in the Parque Central; the nickname “La Ciudad de las Flores” is very fitting. Walking through the streets of Heredia as well as the market, I noticed the variety of fresh fruits for sale, as well as the much cheaper prices. Living in America, you get used to paying an arm and a leg for some decent fruit, yet the quality and taste has nothing on the fruit I’ve had here so far. For breakfast this morning, I had the ripest, sweetest mango I’ve ever tasted, along with some papaya and cantaloupe.
Something else I noticed early on in my time in Heredia is the incorporation of the outdoors in the building and home design, which shows the Ticos’ appreciation for being outside and enjoying the beautiful weather. Though intense rain came in the afternoon, the bright sunny morning compensated for this, and made it clear why Ticos have built open-air malls, cafeterias and markets.
Beyond the food, flowers and architecture, I’ve come to learn that Ticos are the some of the sweetest and most genuine people. My host family has been incredibly kind and patient, as well as helpful while I brush up on my Spanish. They always ask if we want more food, and are so generous with their home and space. Based on my first impressions, I can’t wait for the adventures to come and the Ticos I will meet during these next two weeks in Costa Rica!