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Costa Rica Travels Part Five: Random Facts

March 24, 2011

Carreta - a traditionally painted oxcart used to transport coffee
You have to love people who can turn a simple oxcart into a work of art

I don’t know how much longer I can blather on about Costa Rica, so here are some random facts:

  • Driving a car with an automatic transmission is considered a female thing in Costa Rica. Real men drive sticks.
  • The national condiment, found on almost every table, is Lizano sauce. It is green and tastes kind of like Worcestershire sauce.
  • The ketchup, on the other hand, is way too sweet and also runny.
  • The national dish is gallo pinto (spotted rooster) which involves no chicken, but is rice and beans all cooked together. You can eat gallo pinto at any meal, and usually do
  • My favorite breakfast!
    Photo by Sean94112. Used under a creative commons license.

  • The new national futbol stadium opened today. It was built at no cost to Costa Rica by the Chinese. Though some Costa Ricans have been known to say “There is no such thing as free.”
  • Many Costa Ricans drink their coffee weak and watery. Apparently the good beans are sold for export. Boo. So sad to be surrounded by beautiful coffee plants and get a cup of…brown water.
  • The national saying is “Pura Vida” (pure life). It can be used to express almost anything, though it is generally positive.
  • Pedestrians do NOT have the right of way. You could test this, but it probably wouldn’t be good for your health.
  1. Kara permalink
    March 24, 2011 08:16

    We always have gallo pinto at Cafe Brasil in Santa Cruz. I LOVE it. I could eat it for every meal for sure.

  2. neeroc permalink
    March 24, 2011 11:35

    Oh that cart is GORGEOUS! And I had no idea that Lizano was so popular there, my SIL bought me some a while ago and now I scour the shops for it up here.

    • March 24, 2011 15:23

      Lizano is ok, but I craved real chile sauce while I was down there. I guess I’m somewhat addicted to spicy food.

  3. March 25, 2011 04:33

    No Starbucks?!?

    • March 25, 2011 07:11

      Oddly, no. But the invasion of the multinationals is in full swing – there was a KFC and Baskin Robbins in my neighborhood, and there were plenty of Burger Kings, Dominos and McDs.

  4. March 26, 2011 09:40

    I had some of the best coffee of my life up in San Isidro in the mountains there at every place I went, so your bad coffee must have been a local going. I’m sorry you missed out!

    As far as I’m concerned you can blather on about Costa Rica all you want. I’ve missed that place since I left.

  5. March 26, 2011 14:20

    I love Lizano! I use it on fish… You brush it on tilapia (or any mild white fish) and put the fish in foil packets and put on the bbq for 6-8 min., depending on size. So yummy!

  6. March 27, 2011 10:16

    Haha – I loved the last comment about pedestrians! We did an article on driving in Costa Rica and what do stop signs really mean🙂

    – Tee

    Tee is the founder and senior editor of Costa Rica CLOSEUP a Travel Guide to Costa Rica with Events, Articles and Information for everyone traveling, retiring and/or purchasing real estate in Costa Rica. Please visit for more information.

    • March 28, 2011 18:23

      Thanks. Such nice people…but behind the wheel, watch out!

  7. March 29, 2011 23:17

    bad coffee? i’d die.

    wait. i drive a stick. what are they trying to say?

    • March 30, 2011 11:32

      I think it is ok if women drive sticks. But men can’t drive automatics – that would be too easy!

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