Why we Love our Ticos and Ticas (And You Should Too!)
One of the most significant outsourcing software trends in recent years has been the nearshoring movement. If you are interested in nearshoring your development, have you considered Costa Rica? In a 2013 study, Everest Group found that 80% of companies that outsourced to Latin America chose Costa Rica as a destination. Not only is Costa Rica a short plane ride away, in a beneficial timezone to the United States and safe and stable, but the people of Costa Rica, tico (males) and tica (females), are some of the best in the world to work with. Here are 7 reasons we love our Gorilla Logic ticos and ticas.
- Attitude & Outlook on Life
Costa Ricans are world-renowned for their friendliness, kindness, helpfulness and welcoming attitude. It’s not uncommon to hear tourists say: “We’ve traveled the world over and rarely have we met a culture more welcoming than the local people of Costa Rica”. People embrace simplicity and kindness and it’s not by chance there are hundreds of articles titled: “Want to be Happy? Move to Costa Rica!” In fact, according to the 2016 Happy Planet Index Costa Rica is the happiest, greenest place on earth. Further, when asked on a ten point scale of how happy they are, Costa Ricans ranked their happiness as an 8.5 on average, while the United States only ranked their happiness as a 7.4.
If you choose to visit Costa Rica (which you should!), you will discover how little one needs to be happy in a beautiful setting with such warm people. Perhaps it’s because Costa Ricans live in an ideal climate, with ample fresh water and among some of the most beautiful rainforests and beaches in the world that make the people so happy. Regardless, the ticos/ ticas friendly and relaxed demeanor and gracious hospitality are felt by all that visit. Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world seeing migration from the United States.
- Education & Language
In 1948 Costa Rica abolished its military which allowed the country to invest these funds in education. Since then education is free by law for everyone in the country. Many Costa Ricans are bilingual or multilingual and our entire Gorilla Logic team can speak and program in English. This is due to Costa Rica’s excellent education system which is the best in Latin America. It also ranks second in Latin America and 15th in the world in terms of talent retention. The country has spent over 30% of their GDP on education over the last three decades, which is the 2nd highest in the world and considerably more than the United States. 97.8% of Costa Ricans are literate, placing it in the top 40 countries in the world. To read more about the advantages of being bilingual, please see this article by the World Economic Forum. Costa Rica also ranks first in terms of Innovation and Business Sophistication in Latin America. The number of college graduates increased by 430% between 1991 and 2001 and the country boasts the best MBA programs in Latin America.
- Cultural Diversity
From indigenous people to those with European roots to implanted North Americans, Costa Rica truly is a melting pot of all kinds of cultures and people, yet everyone lives together peacefully and happily. In ancient times Costa Rica’s strategic location served as a cultural bridge between the native people from the North and the South American continent. Spaniards arrived in Costa Rica in 1502 and settled mostly in the center of the country. However, Costa Rica’s Caribbean area saw a settlement of slaves that came from Africa, as well as Italians and Asians. Nowadays this area is well known for rich African and Caribbean cuisine, music, dance, as well as many Italian and Asian restaurants.
On the other hand, most people with Spanish ancestry settled in the center of the country known as ‘the central valley’ where San Jose, the capital, is located and the remaining of the population moved to the pacific coast. The last decade has seen an enormous growth in restaurants and a craft beer revolution around San Jose, specially an area called “Barrio Escalante”, “Lindora”, “Escazu” and “San Pedro” where you can find the traditional “Gallo Pinto” as well as gourmet coffee, international cuisine and much more. Costa Rica hosts many art festivals including the “Art City Tour” which takes its visitors across the most well known art venues such as the “Museo de Jade” which showcases pre-Columbian jade art, or the “Gold Museum” which exhibits precious pieces of Gold from their native people and even more impressive the whole museum is underground in the center of the city. At 9% of the population, Costa Rica has the highest immigration rate of all Central America and makes an effort to take care of this population. Costa Ricans have universal health care and education and include immigrants from neighboring countries.
- Environmental Concern
Costa Rica is an ecological pioneer and one of the first countries to introduce a carbon tax as early as 1997 and plans to become carbon neutral by 2021. The Environmental Performance Index, a collaboration of Yale and Columbia Universities, ranked Costa Rica as No. 5 in the world for environmental concern, the best outside Europe. In fact, unlike most of the western world, Costa Rica has many agricultural farms, capable of feeding their own population without outside food exports.
Over 27% of the country’s land has a protected status by law. Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 species which represents nearly 4% of the total species of the whole planet. Even more impressive is the fact that this biodiversity lives in a country of just 0.03% of the planet’s surface. Hundreds of these species are endemic to Costa Rica meaning they exist nowhere else on earth. Costa Rica’s legacy in environmental protection goes beyond its own borders, Christiana Figueres, a well known Costa Rican diplomat was appointed Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change back in 2010, and during the next six years she dedicated herself to rebuilding the global climate change negotiations among all the countries of the planet which lead to the 2015 Paris Agreement, a widely recognized historical achievement in environmental preservation.
According to the World Economic Forum Gender Gap Index, Costa Rica boasts impressive gender equality, ranking higher than the United States. From Java programmers to mobile programmers to UX designers, we have many women on our Gorilla Logic team. According to a Stanford study on women in Costa Rica, almost 30% of IT workers are women, which is higher than the United States. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post about women in Costa Rica to find out more about the women on our team.
- Pura Vida!
Pura Vida is the national motto of Costa Rica. According to José Melendez, a Costa Rican journalist who has done extensive research about the history of the phrase, the term likely originated in the 1950’s. In 1956, a Mexican film called “¡Pura vida!” opened in Costa Rica. The eternally optimistic main character often said “pura vida” throughout the movie, even when he couldn’t do anything right. According to Melendez, Costa Ricans adopted the colloquialism and started using the term in the same way.
The term doesn’t translate directly into English, but is best described as choosing the path of happiness no matter the circumstances, “a way of being”, “a way of looking at life”, “happy and content” or “everything is going to be ok”. Pura vida means living in the moment and letting go of an expectation to always have what you want when you want it. It is also a positive way of seeing each other, similar to the notion of Namaste. In Costa Rica, ‘Pura Vida’ is a philosophical way of living and signifies how Costa Ricans live their life,” says Ireth Rodriguez Villalobos, chief of promotion for Costa Rica Tourism Board. “It is a concept that Ticos live by daily and bears a very profound meaning to them. It’s living life peacefully.” Nuria Villalobos, a professor of English as a foreign language at Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica, explains, “If someone asked me to describe my country in one or two words, I wouldn’t think twice about it. ‘Pura vida’ would be the answer. It symbolizes the idea of simply enjoying life and being happy.”
- Talent of our Costa Rican Team
We love our Costa Rican team! They continue to impress our clients with their depth of knowledge, professionalism, pura vida attitude, teamwork and innovation on a day-to-day basis. Costa Rica is known as the Silicon Valley of Latin America because of the pool of high-quality tech talent with employers like Apple, IBM and Microsoft. To find out more about our talented team, check out some our past blog posts by our ticos and ticas and subscribe to our blog to read more in the future.
We can think of few other places in the world where you can watch the Caribbean sunrise and sunset in one day, climb volcanoes, snorkel through reefs and hike through rain forests. In Costa Rica, you can do and experience just about anything you want. In the meantime, we urge you to conduct your own research on Costa Rica, exploring the magnificent beaches or admiring the happy and friendly people. We are sure it’ll make you happy too! To read more about why we chose Costa Rica as our nearshoring location please see Mario Marino’s blog post here.
If you have any questions about nearshoring and our Costa Rican team, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Originally published at Gorilla Logic.