Retirement in Costa Rica: Blurring the cultural lines.

If your are thinking of moving to Costa Rica, or are newly arrived, one of the most important concepts you need to come to terms with, quite quickly, is the need to assimilate. Assimilate into your new country and its culture.

To provide you with a visual tutorial of this concept please take a moment to review the photo below. This photo, showing me as I get ready for my daily hike, shows the careful thought that must go into even the most simple tasks, such as dressing ones self.

As you can see, through forethought and effort, I subtly blend Gringo fashion cents (or is it since?) with Tico minimalism to effectively blur the lines between our two cultures. At this point, instead of Greg, you could probably start calling me Gregorio

Need Some Proof?

At this point you may be wondering to yourself, “does it really make a difference — blending in?”

All I can provide, in response, are my observations. One thing that I have noticed on my walks is that the Tico’s are extremely friendly to me, just like I was a Tico right along with them.

When I walk by and give a “Good Morning” or a “Buenos Dias”, to be more precise, I usually get one of three reactions:

  • Most frequently is a shaking of the head from the Tico. I take this to mean the Tico is amazed how difficult it is to tell whether I am a Gringo or a Tico and he shakes his head as an expression of this disbelief.
  • Next up in frequency is a smile and a wave, effectively saluting my attempt to blend in to the Tico culture and say “hola, mi amigo”.
  • Finally, on occasionally a Tico will just start laughing as I pass, as if we were the best of friends sharing a joke. This response is the most emotional to me as it truly makes me feel that I have made it. I am really blending in.


Clearly this is a tongue and cheek post and if you are offended, get over yourself. The reality is, I am making fun of myself.

I really dress this way and on my long walks I sometimes get philosophical and think “I wonder what all these Tico’s think as I walk by and say “buenas” and the answer is likely the polar opposite of this post.

The fact that I feel the need to explain this just shows you how much of a North American I still am.

About The Author – Greg Seymour.

At the ripe old age of 41 Greg Seymour quit his job and retired with his wife to Costa Rica, trading his business suit for a bathing suit. In addition to writing about his experiences in Costa Rica on his CostaRicaCurious blog, Greg enjoys hiking, photography and getting to know his new home.

Blurring the Cultural Lines.

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