¡Pura Vida! Costa Rica Lifestyle

Welcome to the Home of Pura Vida!

Here at Costa Rican Vacations, many of us came to Costa Rica for a vacation and started understanding the true meaning of pura vida life. 
It wasn’t the saying so much; it was the feel, the connection to the ocean blue, the volcanos, the wildlife, the community, and the people of Costa Rica. So we started understanding life in one of the Blue Zones of the World. And it wasn’t the saying pura vida, it was truly living with your heart and soul.
Let’s talk about Pura Vida and its importance in Costa Rica.

How to Pronounce Pura Vida?

Pura vida (pronounced poo-rah vee-dah). Repeat after us: poo-rah vee-dah. Good, now let’s talk about what it means, where it came from, and how to use it. 

What Does Pura Vida Mean?

If you want to translate, pura vida, it means “simple life” or “pure life,” but here in Costa Rica, it is more than just a saying—it is a way of life.
Costa Ricans (Ticos) use this term to say hello, goodbye, everything’s great, and everything’s cool, or even the things that are not cool, but happened. As if saying: “Ok, but what can you do about it? That’s life!”
However, it is not the words that reflect the true meaning of ¡Pura Vida! Pura vida is the way Ticos live. Not surprisingly, Costa Rica has been named one of the happiest countries in the world, mainly because its inhabitants don’t stress about things the way most foreigners do. 
Ticos have a very relaxed, simple way of looking at life. 
No worries, no fuss, no stress—pura vida to them means being thankful for what they have and not dwelling on the negative.

What’s the Origin of Pura Vida?

Although many people love to use the phrase, not many know where the term originated.
The most common explanation comes from a Mexican movie called ¡Pura vida! that came to Costa Rica 1956 (directed by Gilberto Martínez Solares). In the movie, pura vida is the saying used by the main character, who remains optimistic, despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding him. Although it took a little while to catch on, the phrase pura vida was being used nationwide by 1970. Today, it is an inherent part of the culture.

How Do You Respond to Pura Vida?

It depends on what context you hear the phrase, pura vida. Here are some examples that you may encounter when you are here visiting us:
  • If you are on the beaches of Costa Rica, and a street vendor comes up to sell you something, they will start talking in Spanish. If you are fluent, good on you. If not, that’s OK, as some people will speak English, but if they don’t, they will share what they are selling. If you are not interested, you can say, “No, gracias, pura vida,” as they will say “Pura vida” right back. 
  • When you see friends, you can say “Hola” or “Pura vida.” Whether you are a local or a tourist, everyone will recognize its universal ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’ or ‘no worries’ feel. 
  • Someone could say to you, “See you later” or “Hasta luego,” and you can respond with “Pura vida.” 
  • What if the airport lost your luggage? Instead of getting upset or saying it’s OK, you can say “Pura vida.”
  • Let’s say you slipped during a hike, and someone helped you and asked if you were OK. A simple “Pura vida” works excellent (only if you are OK!)

What is the Pura Vida Lifestyle?

Do you remember the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy?” Well, that is the Pura Vida Lifestyle but let’s break it down.
It will be OK: Relax. Things will work out like they are supposed to. We understand that it sounds very cliche, but when you are here in Costa Rica, you will understand what the locals are talking about.
Focus on the Important Things in Life: Family and friends play a HUGE role here in Costa Rica. If there is work, it can wait. If there is a family gathering, that is more important. If there is time to surf, then let’s do it. Why not if you want to hang in a hammock for a couple of hours?
What TV? The time down here is watching the sunset, kids playing soccer, you playing soccer, connecting with the family and community, or just being with yourself. 
Although many people use the saying pura vida, until you’ve been to Costa Rica, you will not honestly know what pura vida feels like. 
It’s an emotion, it’s an attitude, it’s happiness, and it’s a way of life.  

Once you’ve visited, you will understand the true meaning of pura vida, and you may never see it the same way again.
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