Costa Rica is a beautiful country located in Central America. It is known for its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant culture. But when it comes to time, many people may wonder, what time is it in Costa Rica? Let’s take a closer look at the history, time zones, celebrations, and some interesting facts about the time in Costa Rica.
History of Time in Costa Rica
In the past, Costa Rica’s time was based on the local solar time, which varied from region to region. In 1890, the country adopted a standard time based on the 75th meridian west, which runs through the capital city, San Jose. This time was known as Central Standard Time (CST) and was 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-6).
Current Time Zones in Costa Rica
Today, Costa Rica follows two different time zones – Central Standard Time and Mountain Standard Time. The majority of the country is on CST (GMT-6), while the northern part of the country, near the border with Nicaragua, observes Mountain Standard Time (GMT-7). The time zones were established to align with neighboring countries and improve efficiency in trade and communication.
Importance of Time in Costa Rica
Time is an essential aspect of life in Costa Rica. Punctuality is highly valued in business and personal relationships. It is considered a sign of respect and responsibility. Being late for appointments or meetings is considered rude. However, the concept of “Tico time” (late time) is also prevalent in Costa Rica, where people tend to be more relaxed with timing, especially in social gatherings.
Celebration of Time in Costa Rica
Costa Rica celebrates the arrival of the New Year in a unique way. On New Year’s Eve, people gather in town squares to watch a giant clock strike midnight. As the clock strikes, people have twelve grapes in one hand and make twelve wishes for the coming year as they eat the grapes. This tradition is called “La Fiesta de las Uvas” (The Grape Party) and is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the next twelve months.
5 Fascinating Facts about Time in Costa Rica
- The official language of Costa Rica, Spanish, has two words for the English term “time” – “hora” for clock time and “tiempo” for the concept of time.
- The famous phrase “pura vida” in Costa Rican culture translates to “pure life” and reflects the relaxed and laid-back approach to time.
- Costa Ricans use the 24-hour clock format, so 2:00 PM is expressed as 14:00.
- Costa Rica does not observe daylight saving time, so the time remains the same throughout the year.
- The timezone in Costa Rica is also known as “tiempo del este” (eastern time) instead of “tiempo central” (central time), as the name suggests.
In conclusion, the time in Costa Rica is a combination of history, punctuality, and unique celebrations. Whether you are traveling to this beautiful country or simply curious about the time, now you know that it’s either GMT-6 or GMT-7 depending on where you are in the country. But remember, in Costa Rica, it’s not just about the time on your watch; it’s about enjoying the “pura vida” and taking in the beauty of this amazing country.