Wherever you walk or explore in Costa Rica you will hear the words, Pura Vida. From the first time, it is heard it becomes more and more frequent until being noticed by everyone in this small country and says that in many different contexts. You may ask where does it come from? And why do Costa Ricans use the term Pura Vida so much?
The meaning of Pura Vida
The simple meaning of Pura Vida is pure life or simple life. And this has a lot to do with the culture and attitude of the local Ticos. The towns of Costa Rica tend to be much more laid back and carefree than many other countries and towns. They just don’t care as much as others do, there’s no need to worry when you’re in paradise. It is probably the most common phrase that travelers to the country often hear. Pura Vida is both a greeting and a farewell, an answer to the question: “How are you?” And a pronounced expression, perhaps shouted-sometimes joyful.
Why do we use it?
With so many ethnic backgrounds, it’s kind of hard to generalize about the “people of Costa Rica” and what makes them so happy. But one thing that seems to unite the people of Costa Rica is the notion of “Pura Vida”, for Costa Ricans, Pura Vida is enjoying life, no matter what your circumstances are; It’s about a simple appreciation of life and an awareness that life is what you make it.
And if the scientists are correct, this Pura Vida approach to life is working. Not only consistently ranked as one of the happiest populations on the planet, but Costa Ricans also have one of the longest life expectancies of any nationality. The happiness does not go unnoticed by travelers to Costa Rica, either; Visitors to the country often say that the nation’s greatest asset is its people.
When should it be used?
If you are a foreigner to Costa Rica it can be a bit awkward to know when to say things at the right time, especially if you are just starting to learn Spanish. You can use Pura Vida at almost any time of day in almost any phrase and in most contexts. For example:
- If people say goodbye or hello to you, you can say Pura Vida back. It also works to say hello or goodbye to another person.
- If something bad just happened like a flat tire, you can say Pura Vida to shake off any negativity. (I mean, for better or worse)
- Someone asked you how you are, you can say Pura Vida. (I mean, I’m fine. Thank you.)
- You are late for an appointment to say, Pura Vida. (Meaning, We feel or It’s all good)
- Someone can say they hate you or a derogatory term towards you, you can brush it off by saying Pura Vida (Meaning, I don’t care)
These are just a few examples and Ticos comes up with new ways to incorporate them into sentences every day. It all depends on the tone of voice, the moment, and the situation that changes the meaning of Pura Vida.
The Spirit of Pura Vida
So it’s a term, but what about the spirit of Pura Vida. That is true that it is a spirit, or the environment, an attitude that can be said. This attitude is reflected throughout the country. From small communities to big cities. You see it on t-shirts, hats, posters, and graffiti, all over the place.
One of the best places to go to experience the true Pura Vida is on the beach. There is nothing like the laid-back lifestyle that many Ticos have on the coast. Everything seems a little slower and more relaxed. Nobody cares too much because they know they have the necessities of life, warm weather, and great views.
How can this spirit be experienced?
You can certainly become part of this way of life in Costa Rica. You will be less stressed, not worry as much, and possibly live longer, who knows. If you want that then it is definitely worth paying a visit to Costa Rica.
Experience the atmosphere around you and the warmth of friendly people. Travel a bit in Costa Rica and see the wonderful places that are part of Costa Rican’s daily life. You will certainly not regret it!