A Guide to Costa Rica’s ‘Pura Vida’

‘Pura Vida’ is a term you become well acquainted with when visiting Costa Rica. For Costa Ricans, it is a phrase used on a daily basis and encapsulates a ‘no worries’ lifestyle. After visiting, it will be difficult not to take home the spirit of ‘Pura Vida’ for yourself.

What does ‘Pura Vida’ mean?

‘Pura Vida’ translates from Spanish to ‘Pure Life’. It has been used in Costa Rica for around fifty years by ‘Ticos’ (aka Costa Ricans). The phrase represents Costa Rican culture at its best and is more than just a passive phrase. It implies that life can be ever so more glorious when you shrug off the small things. Embracing ‘Pura Vida’ is a decision to simplify and say ‘that’s life’ when things go awry.

Costa Rica nature

In the Costa Rica, the term is contagious and recited frequently with earnest. The origins of the term is murky, but it has been around for about fifty years. The term ‘Pura Vida’ can be found everywhere in country. Whilst the country has many highlights, Costa Rica’s pride is the friendly and welcoming people. This can be attributed to the cultural commitment to enjoy life for what it is.

Costa Ricans are the experts of self-care and nothing encapsulates that better then ‘Pura Vida’. The term encourages you take a moment to enjoy simple pleasures or taking time out of the day to relax. This also includes making time with family and loved ones. In fact, Costa Rica is regarded as home to some of the happiest people on Earth.

Costa Rica nature and travel

Why is Costa Rica one of the happiest places in the world?

There is no perfect place in the world, but it’s easy to see why Costa Rica is a great contender. At its best, Costa Rican culture is one to prioritise health, self-care and rejuvenation.

Sustainability might be a factor for the country’s happiness. Costa Rica is a leading country for sustainable travel and investing in new renewable power. Studies show there is a correlation between efforts toward sustainable living and inhabitants general well-being. This is a sigh of relief considering the influx of tourists per year.

Costa Rica even overtakes the USA for average life expectancy according to the World Health Organisation. This might be attributed to their excellent universal health care system that is ranked one of the best in the world. Lower costs for health care can help eliminate stress and make an relaxed lifestyle is easier to adopt.

Costa Rica is also notable for its spectacular natural beauty. Studies suggest that being surrounded in nature helps lift your mood and overall happiness. When immersed by beautiful beaches and rolling hills, it’s difficult not to embrace a slow motion lifestyle and appreciate your surroundings.

Costa Rica nature

How do you answer ‘Pura Vida’?

So now you know what ‘Pura Vida’ means, you might be wondering when and how to respond to the saying. The longer you are in Costa Rica, the more instinctive it will be to say ‘Pura Vida’.  The term can be used to say hello or goodbye. It can also be a way to affirm that everything is great or to shrug something off.

  • ‘Hello’ or ‘Goodbye’ – ‘Pura Vida’ can be used for any general greeting.
  • ‘How are you?’ / ‘Are you okay?’ – you can use ‘Pura Vida’ to say you’re doing well.
  • When mentioning misfortune – always look on the bright side of life and respond with ‘Pura Vida’.
  • If someone tries to insult you – instead of getting upset, you can simply say ‘Pura Vida’ to annoy them further.

It’s possible to answer almost anything with Pura Vida. The phrase encourages people to enjoy life, no matter what is thrown at them. So if you make a mistake? Pura Vida!

Costa Rica white beach sand

Get a taste of Pura Vida life with us on a Costa Rica tour. Head off the beaten track and connect with the lifestyle and culture of this stunning island country.

FAQs about Puda Vida

What does ‘Pura Vida’ mean?

‘Pura Vida’ translates from Spanish to ‘Pure Life’. It is a phrase used in Costa Rica to convey a carefree and positive outlook on life. It symbolizes embracing simplicity, enjoying the moment, and letting go of worries.

Why is Costa Rica one of the happiest places in the world?

Costa Rica’s commitment to sustainability, universal healthcare, and access to nature contribute to its reputation as one of the happiest places in the world. The country’s focus on environmental conservation, coupled with a strong sense of community and well-being, fosters a positive and fulfilling lifestyle.

How can I experience ‘Pura Vida’ as a tourist?

To fully embrace the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle, immerse yourself in nature, engage in outdoor activities such as hiking, surfing, or wildlife spotting, and take time to relax and unwind. Connect with locals, savor traditional cuisine, and explore off-the-beaten-path destinations to truly experience the essence of ‘Pura Vida’.

What cultural experiences can I enjoy in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica boasts a rich cultural heritage influenced by indigenous traditions, Spanish colonial history, and Afro-Caribbean culture. Visitors can immerse themselves in local culture by attending traditional festivals, exploring artisan markets, learning about indigenous communities, and sampling authentic Costa Rican cuisine.

What are some unique souvenirs to buy in Costa Rica Puda Vida?

Costa Rica offers a variety of unique souvenirs that reflect its natural beauty and cultural heritage. Popular souvenirs include handcrafted pottery, colorful textiles, artisanal chocolates and coffee, wooden carvings, and eco-friendly products made from sustainable materials such as bamboo or recycled materials. These souvenirs not only make memorable gifts but also support local artisans and sustainable practices.

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