Pura Vida is a mantra in Costa Rica. You see the words everywhere. Translated from the Spanish it means ‘pure life.’ It is used here as a way to greet people and say good-bye to them or to give thanks. In Costa Rica it is a synonym for ‘that’s great’ or ‘excellent.’ Pura vida means that life is a gift and we should enjoy it.
Apparently the phrase has been used for decades in Costa Rica and may have originated with a 1956 Mexican movie called Pura Vida where the main character uses the phrase ‘pura vida’ often even though his life is full of misfortune.
People in Costa Rica must take the phrase seriously because Forbes magazine reports that in many global studies Costa Rican people rank highest on the happiness scale. They have a relaxed simple way of looking at life and don’t stress about things the way people in much more affluent countries do.
Some claim you have to be Costa Rican to truly understand pura vida but others try to pass on the life style to outsiders encouraging them to remember that no matter what your situation, life is short and so you need to start enjoying it as best you can.
People say ‘pura vida’ to us often in Costa Rica. We will do our best to try to catch and embody the pure vida spirit during our time in Costa Rica and also once we get back home to Canada.