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Fiction Map of the World – Costa Rica

by Travelbag on 05 March 2015, 11:03AM

It often seems like all paths in Costa Rica lead to beautiful lakes, waterfalls, woodland, or beaches. If you are bold enough, they can all be explored – it is time to get out there, and discover one of the most fascinating regions on the planet.

This tropical paradise offers a world of adventures, and they span a huge range of interests, hobbies, activities, preferences, and landscapes. There is something for everybody here, and the lively nature of its music, culture, and people is guaranteed to lighten your own spirit.

Essential Holiday Reading
The history of Costa Rican literature is remarkably short, because this is a relatively young country. In fact, its literature only dates back to the 19th century. However, rapid social reform and continued industrialisation of both communities and resources has injected real fire into the authors here. For holidaymakers on the hunt for something a little different, there is The Fire’s Journey, by Costa Rican poet Eunice Odio. This is a collection of translated pieces, following the story of a god who battling to save the universe from oblivion. It borrows heavily from classics like Paradise Lost, and offers readers a dark and dramatic journey into the fate of gods and monsters.

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Notable Costa Rican Books
One of the most widely regarded authors in Costa Rica is the wonderful Carlos Luis Fallas, who wrote classic novel Mamita Yunai in 1940. This book describes life in Costa Rica just after the turn of the century, when US forces were still very much exploiting its people and resources. It follows the tale of Sibajita, who goes on a journey to the indigenous settlement of Talamanca, in order to play a part in their local election. This is a sad tale, but a powerful one, and it describes just how bad conditions were for many Costa Ricans at this time.   

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Notable Costa Rican Authors
If you are looking for an emotional read, you might want to try popular author Fabian Dobles, and the delightfully lively Years Like Brief Days. This book tells the tale of an old man who returns to his childhood home, and embarks on a journey back into the depths of his own memories. We share the awkwardness and excitement of his teenage years, and feel his pain over a broken relationship with his mother. As a former Ministry of Culture in Costa Rica, Carmen Naranja is deeply involved in the literature and arts scene. In 1989, she released There Never Was a Once Upon a Time – a collection of short stories narrated by children, given the chance to turn their imaginings into something special.

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Notable Costa Rican Films
The Costa Rican film industry is an extremely vibrant place, and the country produces lots of highly regarded cinematic offerings. Over the last decade, a wealth of high profile directors have made films either set in the country, or relating to its culture and people. For example, Red Princesses follows the tale of two girls, daughters of Sandinista rebels forced to escape to Nicaragua during the eighties. After their mother flees to Miami alone, their father is forced to decide between being a parent and being a revolutionary. Or, there is the intriguing All about the Feathers, which follows one lonely man as he unexpectedly gets into cock fighting – and finds his first real friend.    

Essential Holiday Listening
The music of Costa Rica may not have gained much acclaim in international terms, but it does actually play a part in lots of popular genres. The people here are very fond of calypso sounds, but this music isn’t the same kind of calypso that is found in the Caribbean. Instead, it focuses more heavily on Latin beats and cumbia style influences. Yet, it also has a thriving pop and rock scene, with songstresses like Maribel Guardia making waves across the country. This model and actress released album Move You On in 2010, and it is a great soundtrack to a beach holiday in the sun. The Moonlight Dub Experiment are another great act to check out. They come recommended by reggae legend Lee Scratch Perry, and their album Biodub is bound to get you on your feet in no time.  

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Notable Costa Rican Musicians
The remarkable Walter Flores has won no less than five Grammy Awards, for his work with Latin and world music. He started his musical education at the University of Costa Rica, but later went on to study at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. He is known as one of the most talented and successful artists in Costa Rica, and had directed various world class orchestras in some of the finest establishments and venues on the planet – Carnegie Hall and the Montreux Jazz Festival among them. You should also check out Chavela Vargas, who was famed for her haunting vocal performances, and for being a muse to world famous figures like Pedro Almodovar.


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