Kapital Simbólico, a Costa Rican company dedicated to the development of brand and communication strategies, and the research firm Eco Market Research carried out research on “Pura Vida” as an unofficial country brand of Costa Rica.
One of the main findings is that eight out of 10 Costa Ricans are proud to pronounce “Pura Vida.” They consider it a statement of their national identity. Likewise, 90% of Ticos see “Pura Vida” as an important phrase in their lives.
The study covered a sample of 700 people in Costa Rica during the month of June 2023. It also covered 167 people from the American cities of Los Angeles and Seattle, two of the main sources of tourists to our country.
The participants were Costa Ricans by birth or naturalized as well as US citizens, aged between 18 and 55 years. The expression “Pura Vida” far surpassed others such as “mae” and “tuanis” according to the study carried out in Costa Rica and in two American cities (Courtesy).
Define our way of being, seeing and feeling as a country
The study was carried out in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of professionals from Costa Rica, Venezuela and Mexico. “This study represents a significant contribution to the reflection on those everyday elements that we turn into symbols and that define our way of being, seeing and feeling as a country.To date, no academic effort has been undertaken regarding ‘Pura Vida’ as a cultural construct of Costa Rican identity. We have approached it as an unofficial country brand, with the aim of analyzing it from the perspective of building a brand,” explained Bernal Esquivel, brand strategy consultant at KapitalSimbólico.
Preliminary results show that this phrase has an association of more than 70% with Costa Rican identity, and notably surpasses other cultural elements and national symbols such as the gallo pinto and the chifrijo.
The study also highlights the differences in the perception of “Pura Vida” between Costa Ricans and foreigners. For locals it is an expression of daily use that strengthens their sense of belonging. For foreigners it represents a philosophy of life, harmony and peace.
Significant differences were observed in the use of the expression according to gender and nationality. Men and foreigners residing in Costa Rica tend to use “Pura Vida” more frequently than women and native Costa Ricans.
“Pura Vida” was also compared with other words and expressions such as “mae” (51%), “tico” (44%), and “tuanis” (28%). Although these expressions have a relevant association, they are significantly below the high association achieved by the phrase “Pura Vida”. The study is in the development phase and its full publication is expected in 2024.