Costa Ricans in Guanacaste live in houses such as this one, often colorful and reflecting a pride of ownership. This photo was taken in a nearby village, as most of the housing units in Tamarindo are condominiums and homes for the international community.
Costa Ricans refer to themselves by the nickname "Tico" because of their practice of adding the suffix "ico" to make the diminutive form of a noun.
Ticos are justifiably proud of their high (95%) literacy rate and health care. In the late 1940's, the country abolished its military and redirected the money from the military budget to education and health care. The result has been a stable democracy, well-informed electorate, and standard of living that is unique among Central American countries.