Part of this article is from a previous piece I wrote about 7 years ago.
If you listen to the news in Spanish or know enough of the language to read the Diario Extra, La Teja or La Nación newspapers, you may have seen or heard the word “farándula.” La farándula” is a group of local characters consisting of figures from business, sports, politics, modeling, entertainment, rich and beautiful people and the famous. I guess you could say it is sort of like Costa Rica’s version of the “Jet Set.” Those who participate in this social scene are called faranduleros. In Spanish the verb farandulear means to hang out, make the scene or participate in one the activities where cliques gather.
As I mentioned there are some local celebrities who make up this group but there is also a handful of social climbers (trepadores) and wannabes who want to make some contacts, rub shoulders (codearse con or rozar con) with or get their picture taken with the local celebrities.
Most of the prominent figures who attend the farádula’s events like the opening of a mall or new restaurant are only famous on a local level and few know about them in other countries. They are kind of like “big fish in a little pond” (En la tierra de los ciegos el tuerto es rey) . This whole phenomenon reminds me of something out of the reality TV show “Keeping up with the Kardassians,” which I would not waste my time watching.
At one time the best place to see photos of the faráduleros was a column called Tía Zelmira in the Friday edition of the Diario Extra newspaper. This column no longer exists but was where you could go read about all of the gossip (chismes), anecdotes, and activities of this group of socialites. Nowadays anyone who is interested in the faránduleros lifestyle can read En Todas in La Teja, Segunda Sección and El Click de Charlie Allen in La Extra or Viva in La Nación.
The description above of the farándula and how it operates is an example of one of the aspects of Costa Rican culture. I doubt that any retirees or expats hang out with this group of people but I think it is important to know what the farádula is and how it operates. By the way, my wife had a friend who was one of Costa Rica’s biggest models and celebrities. She invited me to hang out with some of her faranduleros friends so I could make some connections. I politely thanked her and said that it was not something that would interest me. “Cada loco con su locura” (To each his own).