Costa Rica’s Approach to Spirituality

This medical tourism destination differs from other Latin American countries in more ways than one. Its isolated geographic location, lack of natural resources, and sparse population were blessings in disguise that shielded the country from colonial expansion.  As a result, native Costa Ricans enjoyed a level of independence normally missing in Central and South America.  While other countries in the region suffered from dictatorships, military coups, worker-establishment struggles and the like, the people of Costa Rica were leading largely peaceful lives.  Even the peasant revolts that were a part of the coffee boom in other parts of the continent escaped Costa Rica. 

Catholicism

All this has led to a general de-emphasis on religion.  For all practical purposes, Catholicism is the official religion of the people in this medical tourism center.  In reality, Cost Ricans are not as enthralled by the church as in other majority Catholic countries.  The people here don’t get too excited about religion, and the church has never played an active part in the state.  This arrangement is unique in South America where the church has often played a major role in the lives of the people and the government.   

Even still, there is a church in every village. The church normally faces eastward, and come baptisms, weddings, or Christmas, the pews fill with worshippers.  Every village has its own patron saint whose feast is celebrated with pomp.   

Other Religions

A number of religions (Judaism, Protestantism, Hinduism, etc) have managed to cave out small niches in this medical tourism destinations, but overall, the country has managed to avoid further encroachment from other religious faiths.  In short, Costa Rica is predominantly a secular country with Catholic traditions.  

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