Costa Ricans, as any other people, are complex and full of surprises. The country boasts a population close to 3.5 million people, which by standards of the region, is not large at all. El Salvador, for example, is half the size of Costa Rica, but it has double its inhabitants. Also, the growth rate of the population of Costa Rica is only 2.3% per year, and it's actually decreasing.
Within the country the population density varies from one region to another. In the heavily-populated Central Valley an average 300 people live in each square kilometer; in the sparsely populated coastal regions the average is only 20 people per square kilometer. More than half of all Costa Ricans live in cities, a trend which is typical in Latin America.
Although it is dangerous to make generalizations about the common mentality or characteristics of a people, a journey through Costa Rica demonstrates certain traits. Most Ticos are extremely polite and like to maintain a polite distance. Hospitality, takes top priority. Guests enjoy many more privileges and far more freedom than their hosts. The background of such hospitality is the unwritten law of the Ticos: behave yourself well. An important maxim in Costa Rica is to make a good impression and it is almost universally followed.