Culture Corner: La Pulpería
In order to better get to know a country, you need to know its people, history and culture. One of the best ways to do so is to sample some of the daily traditions that comprise this country’s character.
There are many traditions that make Costa Rica unique. Discover the country’s cultural color here.
La Pulpería: Costa Rica’s Corner Store
If you go into a pulpería, you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time. Candles, candies, coffee, food, buttons, screws, whatever you might need, you’ll find it in the pulpería.
Around the country in these small, traditional general stores, people come together to chat or find out the latest gossip. Parents would send their children in the morning to pick up some milk and freshly baked bread for breakfast. In fact, it was in these places that the first public telephones were installed in Costa Rica.
The pulpero, the owner, is a trusted figure, known by the all the neighbors. The pulpero knows his neighbors too, as if they were part of the family.
Today, it’s a bit more difficult to find a traditional pulpería. Many have disappeared or become small supermarkets. However, the pulpería is still an integral part o the country’s social fabric.
Few are left in the city, save for deep in longstanding neighborhoods. But if you visit small country towns, you might be lucky enough to find one of these small businesses where you’ll find what you’re looking for, as well as get an idea of what the pulpería represented in the Tico’s daily life.