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How to practice pura vida and be happy in Costa Rica

How to practice pura vida and be happy in Costa Rica

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We challenge you: Practice pura vida to feel happier in Costa Rica

If you ever travel to Costa Rica, you can’t legally enter the country without knowing the principles of pura vida. You are given a 30-minute test on the topic where you should gain at least…

OK, now seriously. Your trip to Costa Rica will be deeper and more meaningful if you know the concept that explains pretty much everything in Costa Rica. It is also better than any souvenir that you can bring back home – a new lifestyle to make you happier. Aren’t Costa Ricans geniuses?

What does pura vida mean?

It is an expression every Costa Rican uses several times a day. Pura vida literally translates as “pure life” or “simple life” but it’s much more than this. It’s the art of living a happy and worry-free life, the concept of taking things as they are and not trying to change them by all means, the deep respect for nature, family and the important things in life. You will be able to indulge in the pura vida lifestyle if you spend some time in Costa Rica and look at the facial expressions of people when they hear these words. It’s the way ticos (people from Costa Rica) remind each other that life is to be enjoyed.

Where does the phrase pura vida come from

Most probably the phrase came with the Mexican movie “Pura vida” shown in Costa Rica in the 1950s. The main character goes from trouble to trouble but keeps his optimistic view saying “pura vida”. Although the phrase didn’t have immediate success, it became part of the everyday language nationwide by the end of 1970s.

How to use pura vida

– Hi, Maria, how are you?

– Pura vida.


– Pura vida?

– I’m fine!


She is so pura vida!

This simple. Pura vida can be a greeting, a way to say “excellent” or “easy-going”. The most important thing is to accept it with your heart. If soemthing doesn’t turn out like you expected – pura vida! If someone doesn’t show up for your meeting – pura vida! If you have food for dinner – that’s also pura vida! If you meet a friend on the street – pura vida again.