Pura Vida

The true meaning of Pura Vida!

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Pura Vida

It’s Everywhere!

Everywhere you walk or explore in Costa Rica you will hear the words, Pura Vida. From the first time you hear it becomes more and more frequent until you realize everyone in this little country says it and in many different contexts. You might 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. This has a lot to do with the culture of Costa Rica and the attitude of the local Ticos. The Costa Rican peoples tend to be much more relaxed and worry free than many other countries and peoples. They simply just don’t worry as much as others do, there really is no need to worry when you are in paradise. It’s probably the most common phrase that travelers to the country will often hear. Pura Vida is both a greeting and a goodbye, an answer to the question, “How are you?” and an expression uttered—perhaps shouted—at joyous occasions.

Why they use it?

With so many nationalities, it’s a bit difficult to generalize about the “Costa Rican people” 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 means enjoying life no matter what your circumstances; it’s a simple appreciation of life and the realization 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. Their happiness doesn’t go unnoticed by travelers to Costa Rica, either; visitors to the country often say that the nation’s best asset is its people. 

When should you use it?

If you are foreign to Costa Rica it can be a bit awkward to know when to say things at the right time especially if you are just learning Spanish. You can use Pura Vida at almost any time of the day in almost any sentence and most contexts. For example:

  • If people say good bye or hello to you, you may say Pura Vida back. It also works to say hello or good bye to someone else. 
  • If something bad just happened like a flat tire, you can say Pura Vida to brush off any negativity. (Meaning, Oh well or to bad)
  • Someone just asked you how you are doing, say Pura Vida. (Meaning, I’m good Thank you)
  • You are Late for an appointment just say, Pura Vida. (Meaning, Sorry or It’s all good)
  • Some one may 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 come up with new ways to incorporate it into sentences every day. It all depends on the tone of voice, timing and the situation that changes the meaning of Pura Vida.

The Spirit of Pura Vida

So its a term but what about the spirit of Pura Vida. That’s true it is a spirit, or vibe, an Attitude you could say. This Attitude is reflected all over the country. From small communities to large cities. You see it on tee shirts, hats, posters, graffiti, all over the place. One of the best places to go to experience true Pura Vida is at the beach. Really there isn’t anything like the laid back life style that many Ticos have on the coast. Everything seems a little bit slower and relaxed. No one worries too much because they know they have life’s necessities, warm weather, and great views. 

How can you experience this Spirit?

You most certainly can become apart of this way of life in Costa Rica. You will become less stressed, not worry so much and, possibly live longer, who knows. If you want that then if is definitely worth paying Costa Rica a visit. Experience the atmosphere around you and warmth of the friendly peoples. Travel a little bit in Costa Rica and see the amazing sites that are apart of Costa Ricans everyday lives. You most certainly won’t regret it!

All in All, Pura Vida Costa Rica.


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