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Ticos Are Individualistic

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Home / Preface
5 - Costa Rica in Brief
6 - Map of Costa Rica
8 - Symbols of Costa Rica
9 - Introduction
12 - Getting a Bird's Eye View
14 - Why Choose Costa Rica?
18 - Costa Rica Has Many Firsts to its Name
22 - A Place That Accepts All Races
30 - The Friendliness of the Costa Ricans
33 - Ticos are Individualistic
35 - Ticos Are Different and Procrastinators
38 - Why Others Have Gone Abroad
42 - Specific Reasons for Leaving Home
45 - Culture Shock
48 - Enjoy Your Retirement by Adjusting
49 - Ways to Adjust to Your New Life
56 - Making Your Stay More Satifying
58 - Cost of Living
67 - Addresses and Directions
69 - Your Car and Driving
71 - How Not to Be Obnoxious to Locals
74 - Adjusting to the Weather and Climate
76 - Choosing the Right Climate for You
77 - City Living versus Country Living
79 - Where to Live in Costa Rica
82 - Living in Your American Style
84 - Top Quality Health Services
87 - Medical Centers in San José
89 - Dying in Costa Rica
91 - Security and Safety in Costa Rica
94 - Personal Experiences of Petty Thievery
98 - Sex and Romance
101 - Going into Business Yourself
105 - Expatriates Production Enterprises
110 - Expatriates Service Businesses
114 - The Business Environment
120 - Helpful Tips for the Newcomer
125 - National Holidays and Festivities
128 - Religion, Churches & Support Groups
131 - The Optimism and Health Link
133 - The 8 Point Formula for Anti-Aging
134 - Obtaining Insurance
136 - Early Colonial History in Brief
139 - English Language & Tico Expressions
144 - Misdemeanors That Are Now Felonies
146 - Closing Words
148 - Bibliography
149 - For More Information and Contacts
151 - Appendix
155 - Index

Costa Ricans Prefer to Work Alone in Business

The individualistic spirit of the Tico is reflected more in real estate than in anything else, though it still predominates in business enterprises. Through the 1960s, the largest multi-story buildings existing in San José were those constructed and owned by two or three wealthy individuals. Such is the case of Pedro Raventos, who in the 1950s built office and commercial buildings for rent, and of Jaime Solera who constructed a large apartment building complex on the western end of Morazán Park. Raventos had made his money as an importer of building materials. Solera earned his wealth also as an important importer primarily of flour (Gold Medal brand) from the States and paper from Canada for the main national dailies.

Today with the high costs of materials and labour, even wealthy individuals by themselves can no longer afford to own a ten or fifteen floor building. The largest structures seen on San José's skyline are owned either by the government or one of the autonomous state entities. The remaining multi-story buildings are of joint ownership or belong to wealthy state and private banks.

Ever since colonial times the Tico has yearned for a small plot of land in which to farm. In fact, Costa Rica has been known historically, especially in its Central Valley, for having its land divided among many small owners where each has a couple of acres or a few more. Not so in the vast plains of Guanacaste Province where the land is owned by only a few individuals with haciendas measuring thousands of acres each.

As to homes and apartments, even if he's only renting, the average Tico always refers to "my house", "my garage", and "my back yard." He's really not satisfied until he owns his own shelter. Though this spirit of home ownership and individuality is practically universal, it's definitely reinforced and very well entrenched in the culture of the Tico.

The late Spanish philosopher and University of Costa Rica professor Constantino Láscaris, made a detailed analysis of the Costa Rican character as had previously done Mavis Biesanz. He observed that the original colonists and their descendents have been predominately 'mountain people' because of their preference for living in inland valleys. Lascaris contended that as mountaineers most Costa Ricans have always been conservative and individualistic in nature, a characteristic that is readily noticeable especially by foreigners.

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