Costa Rica's culture, with its diverse mix of African, European and native expressions, lends well to a varying spectrum of musical tastes and trends. Although Costa Rica's music scene hasn't been internationally acclaimed, the country's popular music genres include an indigenous calypso scene in addition to a flourishing disco audience thrives mainly in the nightclubs of San José. As in many other countries in Central America and abroad, American and British rock and roll and pop music are popular among younger crowds. Dance-based genres such as cumbia, marcado, merengue, lambada, salsa and soca are also popular. Tourists generally stumble across the popular folk dances such as Botijuela Tamborito and Cambute.
A strong African influence prevails on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, where the music is based on complex percussion rhythms such as the sinkit. The African musical tradition includes genres derived from Afro-Caribbean music such as rumba, calypso and, of course, reggae.
Throughout Costa Rica as well as in other Central American countries, the marimba is a popular instrument. Folk dances include the official national dance called the Punto Guanacasteco. It's no coincidence that the Guanacaste region is home to the most well-known folk traditions in Costa Rica. Guanacaste is known as Costa Rica's center for folk music. Songs of tradition such as "De la caña se hace el guaro", "Pampa", "Amor de Temporada" and "Luna Liberiana" are also popular throughout the country.
For a small sample, listen to the Costa Rica national anthem.
"A person needs at intervals to separate from family and companions and go to new places. One must go without familiars in order to be open to influences, to change."
Katharine Butler Hathaway
More travel quotes