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Costa Rica - What Is Pura Vida And How Will It Affect Your Vacation? by:Gary Sargent

Costa Rica - What Is Pura Vida And How Will It Affect Your Vacation? by:Gary Sargent

You're probably very excited. You've got your trip to Costa Rica planned, and images of white sand beaches, national reserves stuffed with stunning wildlife and waterfalls deep in tropical jungles are keeping you awake at night. There's just one thing nagging at you; every time you mention to someone who has been to Costa Rica about your vacation plans, they mention "Pura Vida". What does it mean, and how will it affect your trip?

"Pura vida" is a popular slang term that literally means "Pure life" and it pops up everywhere in Costa-Rican conversation. Its applications and meanings are diverse; it can be used as a greeting, expression of polite indifference, statement of thanks, or a farewell. It is a strong representation of a philosophy that is not easily explained, but here are some of the effects that you'll probably see on your Costa Rica vacation; draw your own conclusions as to if it is a good thing or not...

Enjoying life slowly

If you were hoping for a punctual bus service, or a country running efficiently like a well oiled machine, Costa Rica will be a grave disappointment. While many foreigners interpret the pace of life in Costa Rica as a culture steeped in leisure or idleness, the difference is simply that the locals (or Ticos) have concluded that life is best appreciated lived at a slower pace. After a couple of weeks in Costa Rica away from the break-neck pace of life back at home, you'll start to see their point of view!Costa Rica - What Is Pura Vida And How Will It Affect Your Vacation? by:Gary Sargent

Overcoming difficulties with good spirits

They may live slow, but the people of Costa-Rica very rarely give up. When faced with a problem, they will steadily search for a solution. The most inspiring part of it is their attitude, a blend of optimism and positivity, that perseveres for the duration of their difficulties, no matter how long they last. Underneath this inspiring approach is the fundamental desire for the people of Costa Rica to appreciate what they have, as opposed to lamenting what they lack.

Celebrating good fortune of all shapes and sizes

An integral part of enjoying each day and moment as it comes, the people of Costa-Rica are quick to appreciate those moments when life throws them something special. It could be when a fish bites the end of their line or when a close relative or friend recovers from illness, but each time fate smiles, a tico is quick to smile back.

Spreading good cheer

The mindset and attitude of pura vida is infectious; you'll hear it everywhere you go, used in almost any situation, and it is accompanied with a smile, friendly nod, or gesture that sells you the joy of the moment and the desire to share it with others.

If you go to Costa Rica a sceptic, you'll probably leave wondering why the rest of the World can't accept the Tico mindset a little more easily. Who know; after a Costa Rica vacation, maybe you could find yourself spreading a little joy to friends and family back home. Pura vida!

About the author

Gary Sargent is the Managing Director of the tour companies Escaped to Peru and Escaped to Latin America and has lived in South America for over 10 years. Gary is passionate about Latino life, people, customs and places. To learn more or to book your next adventure please visit
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Costa Rica - What Is Pura Vida And How Will It Affect Your Vacation? by:Gary Sargent