author Call Us +506 2289 5125

Costa Rica punctuality, also known as Tico Time

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Costa Rica punctuality, also known as Tico Time

Costa Rica punctuality, or so-called Tico Time, will be a very important part of your lifestyle if you plan to move to Costa Rica and maybe even buy a home here. Tico time is part of the local culture.

I consider myself a punctual person, even after living in Costa Rica for over 30 years.

Writing a blog about this occurred to me after a seller of a property in Ciudad Colon got really mad at me for not showing up on the time. At least, that’s what he thought, and we’re not on daylight savings time here.

I had another appointment at the same time and I keep an electronic agenda on my computer and my iPhone, so you can probably guess what I decided to tell him. I think I said it nicely though.

Forgetting appointments

This blog was not written to try to tell you that I don’t care about time, actually quite the opposite. Sure, I forget an appointment here and there. Especially when I’m doing something else at the time of answering my phone. This usually is when I’m trying to attend to a client who is buying a multi-million dollar home from me.

Costa Rica punctuality, also known as Tico Time

Being on time is an attitude

Latin American people generally have a different attitude, though things are changing little by little.  In Costa Rica, being on time for a meeting is not as important to the locals as it is to anyone who just moves here. Nobody really cares about 5 minutes or 10, or half an hour or even a couple of hours. We call it “Tico Time”. This might mean people come late, later, or never. The amazing thing is that expats in Costa Rica adapt to this lifestyle really quickly and you should see how the most punctual person “turns Tico” in no time. I guess it is because they like it here.

Calling to tell you you’re late

I was just having a cup of coffee and a cookie (which is how we drink coffee in Holland) with my wife downstairs.

She said that two friends were planning to come by at lunch. While we were having lunch (we don’t wait for long anymore), Dany sent them a text message to tell them we just started with lunch, a simple sandwich.

They returned the message saying that they were just buying bread. That was at 2:00 pm. I am now writing this blog and it is 4:40 pm, they have not shown up yet.

I’m glad we ate.

Costa Rica punctuality, also known as Tico Time


If you get invited to a party at a certain time, make sure you ask the time they give you is Tico time or Gringo time. You might catch the people who throw the party still in hair curlers if you are too punctual.


You will find the same thing in business; people are really easy about forgetting or just coming late because. So what did my gringo seller in Ciudad Colon wrong? When I didn’t show 10 minutes after our appointment, he could have called me. I know, it doesn’t make it all right, even if I would have just forgotten our appointment or if I would’ve run late indeed, but it’s just a matter of saving yourselves the boiling anger of the other person not showing or arriving later than agreed. In that case, you need to find yourself some patience.

Costa Rica punctuality, also known as Tico Time

Adjustment to the culture

When you relocate to Costa Rica, most of you do it because you’re tired of the rat race and are looking to slow down, enjoy life more. So make sure you do and adjust to another one of these cultural differences that make it so nice to live in Costa Rica, if you can get to accept them of being part of your new life in Costa Rica. It is YOU who has to adjust to the culture and not the other way around. No matter how long you have been living in Costa Rica, you should call if you’re running late. Do NOT get used to Tico time.

By the way, the friends DID show, and not only 2 but 4, they duplicated on the way. It was almost dinner time when they arrived but they know this Dutch guy and his wife are cool with that.

Ready to move to Costa Rica? We relocate, so ask a GoDutch real estate agent to assist you in your property purchase or rental in Costa Rica. Contact us now.

If you like this blog, subscribe to my newsletter by clicking the banner below.

Click here to subscribe to Ivo's Blog

I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. Also, remember GoDutch Realty when talking about your home in Costa Rica to friends and family. We appreciate it.

We Love your Referrals at GoDutch Realty

Facebook Comments

Ivo Henfling

If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the central Valley, or looking for any property for sale in Escazu, you need to call me. I have been selling real estate in Escazu for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and other areas. To me, a deal is not a good deal unless both buyer and seller are happy.

Related posts

Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes Did you know that Costa Rica is a top scorer on the Happy Planet...

Continue reading
Ivo Henfling
by Ivo Henfling

6 Passive Ideas to Stay Busy after Retirement in Costa Rica

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes We have come up with some passive ideas, so you can be busy...

Continue reading
Ivo Henfling
by Ivo Henfling

Why Costa Ricans have two last names instead of one

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes Did you know that Costa Ricans have two last names? When...

Continue reading
Ivo Henfling
by Ivo Henfling

Join The Discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.