While Ticos are very laid-back as a people, they are also very conscientious about being bien educado (polite). A greeting when you make eye contact with someone, or more generally maintaining a respectful demeanor and a smile, will go a long way.

  • Asking for help Say disculpe (literally translated as 'sorry') to get someone’s attention, perdón (also literally translated as 'sorry') to apologise.
  • Visiting indigenous communities Ask permission to take photos, particularly of children, and dress more modestly than you would at the beach.
  • Surfing Novices should learn the etiquette of the lineup, not drop in on other surfers, and be aware of swimmers in their path.
  • Hitchhiking Picking up hitchhikers in rural areas is common. If you get a ride from a local, offer a small contribution towards the cost of the fuel.
  • Topless sunbathing It isn’t customary for women to sunbathe topless in public.