Nicoya, the “Blue Zone” in Costa Rica

Eulalia Obdulia, is a centennial woman residing in Nicoya, Costa Rica. In the photo, she is with her 72 year-old child Elias and her 70 year-old daughter Carmen.

Eulalia has never danced, although she has enough free time to do it, especially after her 100 hundredth birthday. Her first eight children were females. In 1917, she used to help her father on the farm to survive. Therefore, her eight girls had no other choice but to learn farming, horse-riding and cropping like men. A really very tough life. Eulalia never had time to learn things like dancing but that didn’t stop her from making it to 100 years.

There are 42 centennial people in the Costa Rican peninsula, Nicoya. So, Nicoya is another blue zone in the world alongside Okinawa (Japan), Cerdeña (Italia), Icaria (Greece) and Loma Linda (California). Nicoya is located far off in Northeastern Costa Rica. These places are full of one-hundred-year-olds who have reached such like live wires, not in bed or in hospital.

“Last year, one of those one-year-olds passed at the age of 101” – said Jorge Vindas, a researcher who has been studying this demographic phenomenon for 12 years. He is the manager of the Nicoya Peninsula Blue Zone Association – “My father has been the person who has made it possible for me to get in contact with the centennial residents. He is also my company when I have to go to inaccessible places like savannas, rainforests, pasturelands and deer trails” – he added.

Jose Maria Guevara Pizarro

Peche, known so by his friends, was born on September 13th, 1909. He’s currently 108 years. He lives in an uncle-Tom-like log cabin: a small house made of old wood, as old as him, located near a caraos copse. Although he’s 108 years, Chepe is still lucid and his face changes for joy every time he sees his “son” Jorge. They have been friends for 10 years.


According to Jose Guevara, genetics has a lot to do with longevity. Chepe’s daughter is already 70 years and looks really younger, like a middle-aged woman. And he also has a grandchild who is 58 but looks like a 40-year-old.

Chepe gets up at 7 and has gallo pinto (black beans with eggs) for breakfast. He always has gallo pinto rain or shine. Jorge Guevara shared his opinion about why people live longer in blue zones:

“Scientists have been unable to discover why people live longer in those regions. But, after having studied this phenomenon for 12 years, I think it’s because of genotype. Besides that, all these old people are taken care by their relatives, which is true love. If nobody visits you, you can fall into depression, your appetite decreases and your immune system slacks off and then, you die. Additionally, long-lived people eat healthy. Their feeding habit is based on rice, beans, corn, and green vegetables. They consume sugar-less non-additive foods. Oddly to say, just a small part of them has drunk a soda pop. I met one guy who drunk his first Coke Cola at 90. Added to this, physical exercise is also important. And the other key for longevity is working along with the desire of living longer, doing something new every day, and eating the ears of corn of the next crop.”

The term “Blue zones” was invented by Dan Buettner, an American writer and lecturer. Brett grounded his research on other studies carried out by specialists in demography, creating the term blue zones in that moment. He has researched and written about this topic in the United States since then. Now, Buettner goes around the country giving talks and promoting healthy life projects to local corporations that support lifestyle in blue zones.

Watch this video and learn more about Nicoya and its centennial inhabitants.

VIAThe Costa Rica News
SOURCETCRN, The Costa Rica News
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I approach life as a continuous stream of opportunities for growth and learning through human interactions and personal exploration. In my quest for sharing a positive, dynamic, and nuanced perspective on world affairs, I became involved as an author for TCRN. In 2012 I was selected by Shell Oil as one of the top 25 global energy entrepreneurs. Involved in Blockchain Technology and Digital Currency since 2016. Passionate about transforming people’s lives through community CoLiving and CoWorking.