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Secrets of Costa Rica

Why is Pura Vida Costa Rica

What is Pura Vida?

Upon beginning your trip to Costa Rica you will immediately understand why Costa Ricans (ticos) are known for Pura Vida. The person who greets you at baggage claim will offer their help and no matter if you accept or refuse, they will still say Pura Vida! Friends and family greeting someone they know at the airport exit will shout across the crowds: Pura Vida!  

In Costa Rica, Pura Vida is not only our motto but our way of living


What does Pura Vida mean?

Pura Vida (sounds like: poor-a-vee-da) literally means “pure life” or “full of life” but it is a very versatile expression used in different scenarios:


- Greeting:

Hello or Goodbye: these greeting words are exchanged for Pura Vida in Costa Rica



It’s also used as a synonym for thank you.



For different occasions: we had a Pura Vida (great) time at the beach.



Question: want to go out tonight?

Answer: Pura Vida! Or sure, let´s go!


What is behind Pura Vida?

It is not certain where the term originated, though some say that it derived from a Mexican film back in the 1950s, where the main character said Pura Vida throughout the movie, and the phrase migrated to Costa Rica.  It became part of our vocabulary in the 80s and has stuck since then in every aspect of our lives!


Why is Costa Rica Pura Vida?

Well, one thing is certain: Pura Vida defines Costa Rica and Costa Rica defines Pura Vida! Here are some reasons why:

-Pure life or the good life is what Costa Rica has to offer: a thriving democracy, we have no army since 1948. So, while other Latin American countries spend on the military, we have more money to spend on education. The result: we have a literacy rate of about 98%.


-The weather in Costa Rica is ideal: not too hot or cold, the average temperatures range between 22 C (71 F) and 27 C (80 F) throughout the year; either when it’s dry season (December till April) or Rainy Season (May till November). That is why there is actually no best time to visit Costa Rica as it is always Pura Vida over here!


National Parks Costa Rica

- Costa Rica is considered one of the 20 most bio diverse countries in the world. More than 500,000 species that inhabit this small country represent about 6% of total species estimated worldwide. At Osa Peninsula only you will actually find about 5% of the world´s biodiversity. It's a country full of life!


- Because it is a small country, people seem to know each other almost everywhere they go. It’s very common to go to a restaurant, supermarket or to the bank and ran into someone you know. The Ticos are friendly and greet either friends or complete strangers: at the elevator, at the doctor´s office, when about to order a soda at the movies, and even while waiting in line at a restroom! You will see people nod to each other and start commenting on anything with the person right next to them, while they wait for a stool to become available.

 Cloud Forest Costa Rica


For the Ticos Pura Vida is a lifestyle, it is going through life in a serene and carefree way. It means choosing the path of happiness despite circumstances. You can say Pura Vida either on a sunny or a rainy day. You can choose to see the Pura Vida side in every situation that arises in life. That is one of the reasons why Costa Rica keeps topping the charts of the Happiest Places on Earth!

Want to know where it is Pura Vida to visit in Costa Rica? Take a look at our Best Places in Costa Rica section.

Or Download our Ebook: Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica for a more detailed description on each corner of our beautiful country.


Download Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica


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