It's a Friday night and I'm grateful the week has come to a blissful and quiet end. In reviewing my blog and comments from other people, I have realized the word "Tico" is not universally known outside Costa Rica. Inquiring minds want to know. What is a "Tico"? What does it mean?
Here's the skinny on the word "Tico".
According to Wikipedia, the word "Tico" is a colloquial term, an ethononym, for a native of Costa Rica. The plural form is Ticos. Costa Ricans are usually referred to as Ticos by themselves and persons of other Spanish-speaking countries, instead of using the more-formal "costarricense". Some dictionaries show the formal name as "costarriquenses" and also "costarriqueños"; however the latter is seldom used in practice in the modern Spanish Language.
This word, "Tico" or the feminine version "Tica" are used for anything which refers to Costa Rica. There is even an excellent restaurant called Tiquicia, which means "Costa Rica" just like "Tico" means "Costa Rican". This particular restaurant is way up in the mountains of the central valley in Escazu. Folkloric dancing, candle lighting, and the spectacular view, makes this restaurant one of your best options to try well prepared traditional meals. I went there back in early December with several of my new coworkers. The food was incredible and the view gives a vista of all the surrounding bedroom communities of San Jose. At night, it's not only windy but breath taking.
So now inquiring minds know what "Tico" means according to most people.
To me, the words "Tico" or "Tica" or "Tiquicia" mean everything wonderful about Costa Rica. The beautiful mountains, coasts, clear water, crisp fresh air, bright sunshine (which always comes up at 5AM in the friggin' morning!) and most importantly the people. While certainly no one can claim all of the people in any one country are honest and helpful. In Costa Rica, we have encountered almost exclusively the most helpful, honest and friendliest of people. Many of the people I work with, our neighbors, friends of friends, have willingly and proactively offered us assistance and advice. Helped us avoid cultural "faux pas", find the best places to shop (more about the store "Pequeno Mundo" in another post), refer qualified professionals (lawyers, car mechanics, beauticians, spas, vacation spots, etc) and go out of their way to help us with our "Tiquicia" transition.
If someone called me a "Tica" today, it would be one of the most sincere compliments I know. :)