Costa Rica Real Estate, Del Pacifico at Esterillos

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Where does the word Tico come from?

This is a question I get asked a lot! Tico is a word that you will hear used a lot in Costa Rica. It is a colloquialism used to refer to native Costa Ricans. You will also hear the ticos refer to North Americans as "gringos". Don't worry- gringo is not a pejorative term and is meant only as a description.

The prevailing theory that I've heard on where the nickname tico originated is that in the past, Costa Ricans would refer to each other as "hermantico" (little brother) as a sign of affection.  As is the habit as words are used more and more frequently, they are shortened, eventually the word became tico.