The cultural activity in Costa Rica has only begun to flourish in the last 100 years, due to a historical European influence erasing most of the indigenous culture. This leads to the country being noted more for its natural beauty and friendly people than for its culture.
The capital of San Jose at first sight offers an energetic atmosphere with narrow streets, noisy vendors and tooting drivers. However below this surface you will find a more civilized city with quiet places to eat, drink and meet and multiple museums displaying everything from paintings and precious stones to colonization memories and archeological findings.
In principle over 90% of the Costa Rica population is of Roman Catholic faith. Most church attendance takes place at christenings, funerals and marriages. The Caribbean coast population, consisting mostly of black people, tend to be Protestant, and there are of course a few other beliefs in San José, including a small Jewish community.
Spanish is the main language throughout Costa Rica. On the Caribbean coast many people speak a lively dialect of English, known as Creole. Bribri is one of few Indian languages still spoken in remote areas. It is estimated to be understood by about 10,000 people. English is understood in most tourist destinations.
Costa Rican cuisine is not so much spicy and hot as it is tasty.
The Costa Rican population is a rich blend of Spanish, Italian, German, Jewish, Polish, Creole English, Jamaican, Atlantic slave, and indigenous descendants, all bringing the richness of their individual heritage.
Public communication such as radio, television, the internet is easily available, and music and pop culture that is popular around the world is popular and common in Costa Rica. Costa Rican traditional folk dances, accompanied by guitar, are preserved and especially popular.
The literacy rate is 95%, one of the highest in Latin America. Universal public education is a constitutional guarantee, and elementary and high schools are in almost every community. Primary education is mandatory, preschool and high school are free, and there are both state and private universities.