When you visit Costa Rica the first greeting you are likely to hear is ‘Pura Vida’ (pronounced ‘poo-RAH vee-DAH’). Literally translated it means “Pure Life”, mainly it is a sunny, feel good expression used to say hello or goodbye. It can also be used as a response if you are asked how you are doing (everything is just fine, everything is awesome, etc).
There are many theories as to how the phrase ‘Pura Vida’ was born. The most common explanation comes from a Mexican movie of the same name that came to Costa Rica in 1956. The movie’s main character, who has a particularly positive attitude, encounters situations that would depress anyone but yet somehow he always remains optimistic in spite of the misfortune that surrounds him. By 1970, the phrase was being used widely in Costa Rica though it never took off in the same way in other countries.
Since then, ‘Pura Vida’ has become the unofficial motto for one of the happiest countries on Earth, a nation with no army and a Nobel Peace Prize-winning former president. Today, it is an inherent part of the culture, meaning we don’t stress about things the way most people do. Ticos (as Costa Ricans are called) have a very relaxed, simple way of looking at life. No worries, no fuss, no stress—‘Pura Vida’ means always being grateful for what you have, and knowing that happiness is always your choice.
Though anyone can say the words, it really takes the experience of being in Costa Rica to truly feel and know the true essence of ‘Pura Vida’. It’s a passion, sentiment, excitement, happiness, an attitude, it’s living life to the fullest: Pura Vida is our religion.
Join a Wildland Adventures trip to Costa Rica to fully grasp the true meaning of ‘Pura Vida’, and you’ll undoubtedly bring the words, and the feeling, back home with you!
Your Pura Vida Tica,