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Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 in Attempts at Humor, Costa Rica, Culture, Moving to Costa Rica, Tips | 23 comments

Tico Culture – Blending In

Tico Culture – Blending In

Blurring the Cultural Lines

One of the most important concepts to assimilating into a new country or culture, if you are thinking of moving here or just arrived, is blending in. Take for instance the photo below showing me as I get ready for my daily hike. As you can see, I subtly blend Gringo fashion cents (or is it since?) with Tico minimalism to effectively blur the lines between cultures. You may as well start calling me Gregorio.

How to blend in to tico culture

Need Some Proof?

One thing that I have noticed on my walks is that the Tico’s are extremely friendly to me, just like I was a Tico right along with them. When I walk by and give a hello or a Buenos Dias, I usually get one of three reactions. Most frequently is a shaking of the head from the Tico. I take this to mean the Tico is amazed how difficult it is to tell whether I am a Gringo or a Tico and the head shaking is an expression of disbelief. Next up in the line up, a smile and a wave, effectively saluting my attempt to blend in and say “hola, mi amigo” and finally, occasionally a Tico will just start laughing as I pass, as if we were the best of friends sharing a joke. This response is the most emotional to me as it truly makes me feel that I have made it. I AM a TICO.



Ya’ll, clearly this is a tongue and cheek post and if you are offended, get over yourself. The reality is, I am making fun of myself. I really dress this way and on my long walks I sometimes get philosophical and think “I wonder what all these Tico’s think as I walk by and say Buenos or Adios” and the answer is likely the polar opposite of this post and the fact that I am explaining all this in this paragraph just shows you how up tight of an American I still am.

Bonus points for any Dallasite who can tell me where the shirt I am wearing is from.

Pura Vida,


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Greg Seymour is a quitter. At 41 Greg and his wife Jen quit their jobs, sold damn near everything they owned and became Intentionally Unemployed and retired early to Costa Rica.
In addition to writing on this blog, Greg has written for other online publications and has written two popular books about living in Costa Rica:
Greg Seymour Amazon Author Page

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Latest posts by Gregorio (see all)

Coming Out of the CLOSet
Why I Quit My Job and Moved to Costa Rica


  1. I appreciate you rwords. and am on my way to live there. have you ever considered that the prominent watch is out of synchronicity?

    • Jaja – i very rarely wear a watch but I was timing a new route today. Thanks for reading.

      • “Timing a route”? That doesn’t sound very to go-like.

  2. Loved your post. Yep. This is why I never wore shorts while in CR. Never saw a Tico in shorts — only gringos.

    • Thanks Wayne. The shorts are going to be very hard to give up for me. Coming from Dallas, I lived in them for most of the year and the temps here in Grecia are so great. Maybe I will never blend in completely – or maybe I should try the beach sometime.

    • Yeah- that’s the only thing differentiating you… 🙂

  3. This is funny! I on the other hand fit right in and do look like a Tica. Yesterday a expat that I really don’t know all that wall walked by me and said “Hi…wow I almost didn’t recognize you…I thought you were a Tica.” Sometimes though I look at my own attire and think well I probably won’t be mistaken for a Tica today! Blending in has its advantages for sure!

    • That is awesome Kim. I don’t think I will ever get there, even if I dressed more appropriate, I am 6’3″ and dwarf just about all Tico’s.

  4. Tico men wear shorts at home a lot. In public is different.

  5. Ha! Great headline- got me to click ready to call you names- none of them “Tico”.
    I have worn long pants twice in 2 years. One time was a requirement, the second was to avoid skeeters and The Dengue.

    • Glad you enjoyed it GoingLikeSixty and glad you didn’t have to call me names. Thanks for the comments.

  6. Gregorio – too true, man. Now all you need is a satchel/shoulder bag/fanny pack. That’ll help you blend in – and they’re very functional too – great place to keep your smartphone. And Wayne’s right about the shorts thing at least in the Central Valley. Most Ticos wear shorts only if they’re exercising. But head to the beach and things get super casual.

    • Thanks! The shorts stay regardless..will never have a fanny pack. Thanks for reading.

  7. Could not stop laughing 🙂 I loved this post! Can’t wait to see you and Jen sometime in the city. Please wear your Gringo clothes so I can recognize you!

    • Glad you liked it…YES, we will be heading to SJ soon and hopefully can meet up with you guys for lunch. I don’t think there is a chance that you would miss me.

  8. fact is you’ll never become as invisible as you may like, you’re a gringo Gregg and you’ll always be a gringo, be proud, you started this journey much earlier then most pura vida mi amigo

  9. Hey Greg, just saying hi from another gringo tico dallasite. Yes, I lost the watch but still have to have the shorts. But, being female it is a bit different. Welcome to Costa Rica!

    • Thanks Sharron! The shorts will never go. The watch – no problema.

  10. Tour Des Fleurs, Dallas Arboretum.

    • Nice job Jason. That was a favorite run of mine. We lived within walking distance of the arboretum.

  11. I grew up on that side of town. Still find my way there quite a bit.

    • Cool. We lived in that area for the 6 years before moving to CR. We loved the vibe of that area.


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