If you find yourself in Costa Rica during February of 2018, you’re in luck. You’ve planned your vacation perfectly to be able to explore a new and exciting country and relax in the sun while watching the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea. Costa Rica might not seem like a country that would be interested in snow and ice sports, but you would be surprised. Costa Rica has, above everything else, dedicated sports fans. You’ll have no problem finding a crowd of easy-going, happy sports enthusiasts to watch the winter games with.
You didn’t come to Costa Rica to watch TV, but celebrating national athletes with a group of high-spirited supporters is a cultural experience in its own. Plan your vacation around volcano hikes and beach days, but be sure to schedule in some time for the Olympics. These long afternoons watching ice dancers in a beach-side sports bar may just be your favorite parts of the trip.
Costa Rica’s Relationship with Sports
Costa Rica has celebrated athleticism and friendly competition for its entire history. In fact, the country is well-known world-wide for being active and fitness-oriented. Nearly all Costa Rican locals have a fitness routine, whether it be hours in a gym or just a simple stroll at night. Regardless of age, interest, or family situations, Costa Ricans tend to be an active bunch. This small tropical country has even won the title of being the healthiest country in Central America, thanks to its active culture and emphasis on nutrition.
When it comes to spectator sports, Costa Rica stays interested. Their active culture and appreciation for health has created an extremely sports-oriented environment. Fans pour into local stadiums for regional baseball and soccer games, and everyone has their favorite international team as well. Soccer, baseball, football, and boxing, Costa Rican fans never miss a game.
It’s true, the majority of Costa Rican sports fans focus on soccer and baseball. They have, however, developed an appreciation for competitive sports of all kinds, and that includes snow and ice sports. The Winter Olympics have started, and Costa Rican sports spectators aren’t going to miss out. This may not be their major sporting event of the year, but whenever there’s a chance to support Costa Rican athletes, the crowds will come. Make sure you’re part of these crowds, you won’t want to miss out on the fun.
Who to Watch
In the 2018 Winter Olympics, Costa Rica only has one athlete. This one athlete will be the first Costa Rican to compete for his country in the Winter Olympics since 2002. Costa Rica will truly show its strength in the Summer Olympics, especially with their champion surfers, but they don’t want to miss out on the winter fun either. Make sure you know when the Mens Freestyle Skiing will be aired. You’ll want to arrange your daily activities around this event, so you can be present when Andre Hamm represents his country.
Andre Hamm is a native of Colorado, but has maintained his Costa Rican citizenship through his mother, who is from a very humble background in rural Costa Rica. Andre started skiing when he was 10 years old, and became recognized as a talent at 14. He’s proud to be representing his mother’s home country during these Olympic games. Although the 22-year-old is rather new at the sport, when compared to the experience of other international athletes, his talent can’t be missed. Local fans may not know Andre Hamm personally, but they’ll all be present to watch him ski under the Costa Rican flag.
When watching the Olympics, you’ll want to cheer for the Latin American region as a whole, not just for Andre Hamm. Go big for your home country, but save some pride and enthusiasm for the other Latin American athletes as well. Unfortunately, Andre Hamm is the only athlete coming out of Central America in 2018, but Mexico has formed a strong team of alpine and cross-country skiers, and South America will be showing up as well. Keep your eyes on Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, their talented teams won’t disappoint.
Where to Go
Finding a place to watch the game shouldn’t be too hard, but if you find yourself on a secluded beach or jungle retreat, you’ll need to make some extra plans. Make sure you know when events air and what events you want to see, that way you can fit it into your itinerary. When cheering for Latin American athletes, especially Andre Hamm, you won’t want to be in your hotel. You’ll need to find a lively bar with multiple TVs to join in the fun. Arrive early for a light lunch and a cup of local coffee. By the time your event is airing, you’ll be ready for ice-cold beers and the comradery of fellow fans.
If you’re in San Jose or any other populated city, finding a quality sports bar won’t be a challenge. You’ll be able to walk down the road and step into the pub of your choice. If you’re in a more secluded location, however, you may need to search. Use popular tourism sites such as TripAdvisor to find a quality bar. Better yet, talk to the receptionist at your hotel and any guides you hire for hiking tours throughout your vacation. They’ll be able to give the best advice, complete with directions. Remember cities with universities and stronger tourism will have the best sport bar options, where as rural towns may only offer family restaurants with small TVs. Aim for a nice, open-aired tropical environment. You can relax in the sun and enjoy the views while appreciating the wintery ice from afar. Regardless of where you are, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect place to toast the athletes of your new host country.