Shopping in Costa Rica – Tico-ish Episode #2




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Tico-ish Episode #2 Shopping in Costa Rica

Shopping is a necessity for most people – who doesn’t at least have to go to the grocery store for food at some point during the week? Shopping is also a hobby for many, whether it be online, wandering through stores looking for the perfect gift, chasing the best deals and sales, or buying the perfect outfit for an event. Shopping is, most importantly, a cultural experience, whether or not we realize it. So in Episode #2 of Tico-ish, Christa and Ryan tackle shopping in Costa Rica. (And special thanks, once again to Ryan and his amazing photography skills!)

Here’s what we chat about in Episode #002:

    1. The absolute and total frustration of buying things at a Costa Rican pharmacy
    2. Plastic bags. Plastic bags. Plastic bags.
    3. Bureaucracy – when shopping? You bet!
    4. Typical tico react when you don’t want a bag
    5. “Security” measures in Costa Rican stores
    6. How shopping in Costa Rica can be a great way to learn Spanish!

What we didn’t say in the episode/lingering question:

Shopping in the United States can be a sterile experience – Christa mentions that she can shop all day in the States without ever interacting with another human being.  Shopping in Costa Rica is the total opposite, with both a reliance on verbal language to communicate the shopper’s needs and preferences, and shopkeepers trained to keep a running commentary on selling products as long as customers are in the store. So…What is the cultural significance of shopping being both a human interaction and a verbal skill and what does that say about tico values?

Watch it here!

Chime in! How have you used shopping as a way to learn another language? Have you ever shopped in Costa Rica and come home with a great story? Share in the comments below!

You can check out Ryan’s observations about the episode here!

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  • Joan Kramer
    July 10, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    I lived several months over six years in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. This is such a small town that shopping didn’t seem as interesting as you have expressed about your experience. We were limited to a few markets, unless we could get out of town to the wealthier areas. We didn’t own a car so we rode bicycles and had to balance our food on them. That was a challenge to me as I’m not very physically active or strong. But I did love it, even though riding a bicycle in Puerto seemed dangerous. Most car drivers drive very fast and don’t care who is in their way. Disappointing to me were the lack of green vegetables which wilted in the humidity of our climate. But generally we did find that eggs, and meat, and most everything else were much tastier than what could be purchased in the U.S. Loved watching chickens and horses passing through my yard every day. And seeing cows allowed to be free. I hope this never changes.

    • Christa
      July 11, 2016 at 10:27 am

      Hi Joan! Thanks so much for watching the episode and commenting! Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is definitely such a different experience from more metropolitan areas of central Costa Rica, but such a beautiful area. Just like you commented, riding those bicycles along the dirt roads is a quintessential Puerto Viejo experience. Hope you can tune in to the next episodes! Thanks again for visiting! ~Christa