Jun 27, 2011

Reading the Tea Leaves: Costa Rica

I have had the wonderful opportunity to spend the past week in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. It is part of the Northwest coast of the nation directly on the Pacific. Perhaps you have had the opportunity to travel here, as well, and may share in some of my observations.

I often write about how important it is to read the tea leaves – or study the culture – of an area in order to understand it’s people and their values. Here are a few interesting tidbits that I think I have picked up about this culture.

  • Costa Rica seems peaceful. This is a nation who eliminated their armed forces over 30 years ago. With Nicaragua to the north and Columbia to the south, they have some neighbors with a revolutionary history. They are clearly confident in their peace.
  • Costa Rica seems apolitical. They do not seem bogged down in division of power and ideology. Largely a nation of blue color manufacturing, they appear to have settled into an apolitical stance of unity.
  • Finally, this is a nation that has decidedly set their sites on tourism and international development. The average household income is $300 per month and slowly growing. Rather than build arms like other Central American nations, they are push into tourism and attract an international clientele.

Trivia Question: What is Costa Rica’s largest export?

Answer: Silicon wafers from their large Intel plant.

I guess I came all the way from the Silicon Forest in Oregon to the Silicon Rain Forest in Costa Rica!