“Pura vida” is a common expression in Costa Rica, roughly translated to “the pure life and simple life” in English. My time in Costa Rica was full of pura vida life experiences. I lived in a one master bedroom in a big house with a Costa Rican family and enjoyed a life of Spanish classes, socializing at the local bar/clubs, and sunset beach adventures. Here’s why Costa Rica is the ultimate place for Pura vida living.
The most distinct part of living in or traveling through Costa Rica is what I call living in the moment. Life is so simple there; the most stressful decision to make all day is often which beach to visit. Physical changes arrive thanks to the opportunity to live in a world surrounded by untouched nature. Monkeys running around the beaches and sloths chilling on the trees become a common sight.
I studied and lived half a year in the land of “Pura Vida,” and I’m surprised by the many similarities and differences that they have with my Mexican culture. We may both speak Spanish but it’s amazing that I still learned several things about their culture that are different from my own.
Ticos (the word for native Costa Ricans) actually eat a very simple diet of mostly rice and beans; my Tico homestay family often made a huge, family-sized plate of it in the morning. At breakfast, it’s served with an egg; beef, chicken, or fish is added later in the day, with a salad and more rice and beans at dinner.
It’s very expensive to import just about anything to this small country in Central America. Wine is triple the price that it is in the US, as are many other things. (So when you order it at a bar, expect it to come from a box.) Fashion brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Zara are also more expensive so expect to be paying more to stay fashionable when in town.
Costa Rica famous nature (jungles, rainforests, beaches) do not disappoint — they are pristine and beautiful. Just about any town has its own tourist attractions to enjoy along with its beaches. In the country’s effort to preserve nature, there are strict laws about how close to the beach you can build a bar, house, or hotel. You can expect every beach you visit to be beautiful and each having its own personality and style. Lots of students enjoy the true essence of life by having fun at beach towns every weekend.
Some things you will notice that are different than back home. Some things can include houses not having real addresses like in the U.S, potholes on roads with fast drivers, and electric showers that can shock you! No country is perfect and things are just done differently which is okay! You adapt and get used to it in no time:)
Here you learn to let go of the small things and not let it get to you like it used to back home. While I was in Costa Rica I’ve been lost, late, lost some of my possessions, backpack got stolen off a bus and at the end of the day, I didn’t care and moved on.
Here you will learn how to connect with nature, live life in the moment, and to the fullest! No regrets! Some of my happiest memories were in Costa Rica and I plan on returning one day to relive some of those moments. Something to take note of is that even though Costa Ricans may have less materialistically, they’re actually happier than many other Western countries citizens. Costa Rica is even ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. If you go visit, you will see why!
The people there as a whole care more about experiences than “things” and value relationships over materials. I have taken on that philosophy with me everywhere I go. Lifetime memories over temporary possessions are the way to go! Hanging out with family, friends, and having fun in nature is the Costa Rican way of life. Life isn’t promised tomorrow and it’s important to take advantage of your prime years and freedom while you can.