It’s the pure life…REALLY???

pura vida

~ “Pura Vida

Everywhere I go in Costa Rica people say to me “Pura Vida

—) Last night the taxi driver who drove us to the hostel said to us, “Pura Vida

—) This morning at coffee the barista said to me “Pura Vida

—) While I was stopped on the side of the road in traffic, a guy walking alongside our rental car said to me with a smile, “Pura Vida

The straight up translation in English for Pura Vida is “The Pure Life” and refers to the Costa Rican way of life and their passion for preserving the beauty of nature (they are one of the Greenest and most pro-environment countries in the world)……but in truth, Pura Vida means so much more to Costan Rican’s…in fact, they use the phrase to refer to just about anything that makes them happy and peaceful.

At two different café’s in the past couple days I’ve casually asked the locals if they have any desire to ever live somewhere else in the world; the answer is always a resounding “NO!”

This is a pretty striking difference in comparison to so many of us from the United States who have our heads in the clouds;

—) how many of us dream of living somewhere else?

—) how many of us dream of getting a bigger home?

—) how many of us dream of getting a bigger piece of property?

—) how many of us dream of getting a cool loft in the big city?

You’ll often see Costa Rican’s packing a family of 6 into a little car that can barely fit 3 adults….but they are happy and at peace.

Traffic in the capital city of San Jose is literally insane. Its one of the craziest places I’ve ever driven in my life. People cut each other off with no regard and they blaze through red lights without abandon…..but nobody ever seems to get upset. This is my fourth trip to Costa Rica and I have literally seen hundreds and hundreds of drivers cut off other drivers on the road; but I’ve never seen one instance of road rage‘Pura Vida” they say.

One of my friend’s on this trip with me remarked, “I think that the Costa Rican’s simply don’t care about getting cut off….they’re just so happy to be living life and enjoying the beauty of their country that they say, “So what if another driver cuts me off….Pura Vida” ”

Costa Rican’s aren’t in a big hurry to get anywhere. If a heavy rainfall leads to a mudslide that covers the road, “We get out of our cars and visit with the other Tico’s stuck behind the mudslide” said Manuel, a guy I met at coffee this evening. Sometimes they can be stuck on the freeway behind a mudslide for hours….but the Costa Rican’s don’t get upset….”Pura Vida” they simply say, “Often times, if one of the Tico’s lives nearby he will invite us over for lunch while we wait for the bull dozer to clear the road” he said….Bosses and managers don’t give you hell if you’re late for work, in fact, very few business hold to strict time schedules of when employees have to show up. pura vida 2

Costa Rican’s are proud of their country. Manuel had the opportunity to spend a month in New York a few years ago, “It was very exciting to be in the United States” he said, “But I would never want to live in your country……life is too fast where you live… Costa Rican’s want Pura Vida

The average Costa Rican lives in a house that by U.S. Standards would be considered ‘poverty level’…..but the Costa Rican’s do not live in poverty….they live in paradise. They love their country….they are at peace…they are joyful.

In the United States, if you want to live alongside the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean you pretty much have to be extremely wealthy. All of the most beautiful pieces of property in the U.S. are overpriced and often only available to the rich……but in Costa Rica, the poor live right next door to the rich thanks to a law that in English is translated as “Squatters Rights“. It is a way the country prevents wealthy people from buying up all the property and forcing the poor away from the coast; if a family lives on a piece of property and maintains it for a certain amount of years….the property becomes theirs by law.

Even though I have been here many times before….it’s always amazing to me to see so many people simply hanging out. Whether it’s Monday or Saturday……people in Costa Rica spend hours upon hours together sitting along side the road or at café’s enjoying each other’s company.

Neighbor’s know their neighbor’s in Costa Rica……in fact, the average person knows the majority of people in their town.

pura vida 3The first time I came to Costa Rica five years ago I was overwhelmed with how laid back the culture is. Coming from the Midwest where it seems we are often working our lives away……Costa Rican’s are not working their lives away; they are living life to the fullest by enjoying the beauty and wonder of this gorgeous country.

It’s difficult to drive very far through Costa Rica without seeing a waterfall……its difficult to walk through the streets of a city in Costa Rica without seeing the smiling faces of children.

Is Costa Rica a global leader in technology or computer science; no. But do they have to be?

As I sit here at a café and look out at the sun setting (see the large photo I posted above) I wonder if all the stuff that us ‘First World’ nations are striving towards is really worth it……..What’s the point of all the debt we incur to get a big house, a new car, or a brand new computer……am I living Pura Vida back in the States….or am I simply going along with a culture that has lost focus on what really matters most?

I’m sitting along the ocean with my camera and a cup of coffee…….and a lot of thoughts are going through my mind…….


Categories: Drinking in the Culture

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

149 replies

  1. may you enjoy relaxing breaths
    and calmness in the mind
    enjoying that cup of coffee 🙂

  2. Move to Costa Rica! Okay not seriously, but maybe….This article makes me want to do that.. hehe.
    But in all honestly – great article. It’s nice to read about a paradise. I wonder how their ‘pura vida’ culture is influenced by their surroundings. Do you think you need all the palm trees and luscious, beautiful environment to achieve that type of cultural peace and happiness? I’m personally not sure, but I’m sure it couldn’t hurt….

    • ” I wonder how their ‘pura vida’ culture is influenced by their surroundings. Do you think you need all the palm trees and luscious, beautiful environment to achieve that type of cultural peace and happiness? I’m personally not sure, but I’m sure it couldn’t hurt….”

      Olivia, I agree….the palm trees and beauty definitely doesn’t ‘hurt’

      and that’s what I’ve been thinking about; why can’t I begin living a less stressed out life back in the states? Why can’t I take things slower……

  3. You really hit the nail on the head with your post. What is the use of working if it’s just to accumulate more stuff and isolate us from the meaningful aspects of life such as family, friends, community and just enjoying living.

  4. The pure life; there is something to life. I guess it is acquired, no? Yes I think so. Not impossible, but acquired. Enjoy.

  5. my wife and I really do need to visit this paradise.

  6. This sounds like what I have dreamed about for years. Being still, thinking with a cup of coffee. My definition of external peace. Enjoy it!

  7. yes, really. LOVED Costa Ricans.

  8. never really wanted things..Yet I always wanted my smile…back..

  9. Ahhh. Pura Vida Kenneth.
    Sip slow and well my friend. That Costa Rican coffee is good to thy soul.
    Much peace safe travels.

  10. I’m about one plane ticket away from moving there now, thanks to your post. Living in a slow paced and calm environment, with stunning landscape sounds like a dream to me. You’ve been there 3 times and you still come home to the states? Why? I don’t know if I would.

    • “You’ve been there 3 times and you still come home to the states? Why? I don’t know if I would”

      lol I keep asking myself that! But this year will be busy enough traveling around the world…maybe in a couple years I might live here permanently…..we shall see

  11. I do like to read about a nation of happy people. It’s not possible if you’re writing about any western country – what a slap in the eye for all of us!

  12. Sharing this post with my husband, who has always wanted to visit Costa Rica. Now he’s really going to want to go 🙂 I don’t necessarily want to live in another country or a tropical climate, but I long for a culture that is slower-paced, more laid-back. I can choose to live this way, but I’m still surrounded by people who are busy busy busy.

  13. I think like a Costa Rican most of the time.

    Maybe I need to move – lol.

    But seriously, do we really need all this ‘stuff’.

  14. Yep. You are on holiday! 🙂

    • lol for sure….although its 11:30 am here and I just spent the last 5 hours talking with numerous people at the café…..but hopefully I will get some time to myself later in the day

    • 5 hours talking? I make that a 6.30am start. What was your last comment? Worried you would have a word free/blog dilemma trip I think. Might want to worry about a different dilemma! Enjoy!! (presses Send rolling on floor laughing) 🙂

    • Paul, yea I woke up at 5:30 AM and talked with a few people, one guy from New Jersey who has a Master’s degree in psychology and had an interesting story.

      last night at a little beach side bar I spent a 3 hours hanging out with a guy I met from Wales…..his father was the main national representative for the West Indies Rum And Spirits Producers Associations and he and his dad spent years living in Barbados, Jamaica, and all of the British colonies over here…..he had quite a few stories he told me last night

    • Thought for a blog.

      The volume of “oh I wish life was slower” comments here is making me scratchy. Why so little imagination in just saying “no” and slowing down even though “everyone” around you might be compelled to rush. We went down the east coast of your US a few years ago stopping off with extended family all the way. Ohio, DC, both Carolinas, Florida, and back to DC. It was a holiday. You have a fine country and a fine people (bit weird some of them – but that just adds to the fun)

      And a sidenote: in the UK we holidayed in Cornwall for several years running (again with family) and fell in love. Thought of moving there buying a pub. Reality check: where you live you take for granted and have responsibilities. Where you holiday you go for a change – scenery, daily routine, blah blah blah. Live “there” and little of that applies.

      I have just had an irritation attack! Mark the calendar! That has never happened on your blogs ever!

    • Paul,

      well I’m not sure how it is in the UK, but in the U.S. the average American worker will get ‘written up’ if they are even 5 minutes late to work…if you’re late a few times you’re liable to get fired.

      The American way of life tends to push people toward buying more then they need. Perhaps a lot of this is because americans are so influenced by television; and everything in T.V. shows and commercials is designed to make you think you will only be truly happy if you purchase more things…..

      In Costa Rica, people seem to be very satisfied with much less. Take for instance the housing situation here. Very few American’s would be happy living in the little crudely put together houses here……but Costa Rican’s are totally at peace….they don’t need a big four bedroom house with cathedral ceilings……they spend most of their day outdoors; whereas American’s spend most of their time indoors…even in warm weather states in the U.S. people still spend A LOT of time inside watching T.V…….

    • Kenneth, there are areas here where that is also true. And a lot where it isn’t. Surprises me that there seems to be a genuine “satisfaction issue” from so many. I am just enjoying the scenery with you. Borrowing the fun and observations. The thought of moving? Man I have a life I enjoy too much! Thanks for your time on this one. I need to ponder. You need to talk and walk in the sand. 🙂

    • Paul,

      don’t get me wrong….I’m actually at peace in the little community that I live in back at home in the States…..but I’m very aware of the fast paced nature of life where I live. A lot of people are under a lot of pressure; is some of it self-imposed because people are caving in to the influences of the American way of life; perhaps. but ultimately….it is difficult for many people to get away from the mindset that permeates so much of Western Culture. Here in Costa Rica that mindset simply doesn’t exist.

  15. Thanks for letting us into the world of what it means to live- ‘Pura Vida’
    I have lived in the U.S. my entire life and at the same time I’ve never been content to stay. So in answer to your questions: I have always desired to live somewhere else. Mexico-Spain-El Salvadore and CostaRica. I’ve taken Spanish and really have very little tying me here except the arrangement of it all. I feel I owe it to myself after serving others (raising kids) my whole life long.
    Oh…the photo is stunning…keep em coming.

    • ” I’ve taken Spanish and really have very little tying me here except the arrangement of it all. I feel I owe it to myself after serving others (raising kids) my whole life long.”

      well put Costa Rica on the top of your list then….and ya don’t even need to be fluent in Spanish….I speak really good travelers Spanish but even that I don’t need because most of the people here are pretty good with English

    • It’s so nice to have all the pluses you are experiencing in CR. I don’t know if I asked (Mainly because I am still such a newbie to understanding how this site works) also because I have to use my phone alot to view the posts. So here is what I was wondering: With all the great organic coffee down there…do they ship if you tell them what coffee that you like
      I’ve been grinding my own for my entire life so I know what good coffee tastes like but theres always more

    • Hi Beachcomber, not sure if anyone has answered you yet but since we lived in Costa Rica and became rather addicted to theor wonderful coffees, we started ordering online. Our favorite comes from a farm that produces some of the most exported coffee out of the country and also ships out of country. You can find Doka farms online and order irectly, however the coffee goes through distributors here ib the country.musually it is out of Florida or Texas. Takes up to six weeks. We also order spices from Villa Vanilla Spice Farm. I am not sire about Cafe Britt. Hioe this helps.the cost is no more than a good brand here.

    • Great comments…..a coffee house three blocks from my house orders unroasted beans from costa rica and then roasts them fresh weekly so I totally understand why you order online because they are soooo good!!!

      while I really like the costa rica beans……I actually love darker roasts even more and costa rica doesn’t really grow any dark roast beans……

    • If you have the chance try the Foka espresso. It is more robust. Its their processing to lower caffeine. Not roasted so much.

    • That should have said DOKA. duhh..:)

    • Hey there dweezer19! Thanks for the great tips. You can be sure that I’ll be checking Doka farms also I’m happy to know the cost is same as here. I’m a big pure vanilla “nut”(pun intended). So thanks for checkin in with me on those points…as I haven’t heard from others about my questions. By the way, I caught the, “since we lived” in CostaRica line. If you don’t live there any longer is it because of Costa Rica?

    • Hi Beachcomber. Glad to help. To answer your question, we had to return to the states due to family situations. Our initial move was sort of a “trial run” to be sure we were right about our instincts. We are hoping to return to life there soon! Any life will present challenges but we felt so very comfortable and at home in Costa Rica. The most impressive thing to me about it is the live the people have for their country and the genuine way they share it. If you like liqueurs you should also order dome Cafe Rica. Its wonderful coffee liqueur. If you ever have the chance a trip to the Villa Vanilla Spice Farm is well worth the early trip. They produce cinnamon, cacao, vanilla bean, peppercorn and turmeric. It is also an epiphite farm.beautiful place. Oh well, now Im getting homesick again…sniff.

    • To say that you felt so very at home and comfortable in Costa Rica-is lining right up with everything else I’ve heard so far. Life as you say, presents us with many challenges. It all sounds

    • happens to me too!

    • Wait….I didn’t get to finish cleaning up that reply!hahaha

  16. So glad you’re there. Thanks for the inspiring, thoughtful post. I shall continue to try to achieve Pura Vida, however I can, wherever I am.

  17. Great post. Enjoy your travels & continue to educate the masses that there is so much more to life than ‘progress’

    Being content is a rare commodity in so-called ‘First World’ culture.

    Take care

  18. Does it have to be either / or? Couldn’t we combine the health and wealth of the developed world with the “live life to the full and be happy with what you have” attitude of the Costa Ricans? I think we could. Then we really would be living in paradise.

  19. There is something to be said about the differences in lifestyles in other countries compared to the US. After living in the US and Germany! we decided the lifestyle here in Germany was better and moved back. The pace is slower. Life is simpler. There is a lot of focus on family, values, and protecting the environment. There are definite luxuries we miss about the states, but it all comes down to your own Pura Vida.

    • What luxuries do you miss living in Germany? Not BMWs or Porsches!

    • I don’t miss anything since I live in Germany. 😉

    • Sorry, I read that several times and still wasn’t sure….but if you’re asking what I could miss about the states? It’s just some materialistic and convenient things, such as the stores that I love, the availability that comes with a 24 hour lifestyle (although that’s a double-edged sword) and Mexican food. 🙂

    • It’s just that you said there are luxuries that you miss. I wondered what those were. After all, Germany is a very wealthy country, not very different to the US. But I can understand the frustration of early closing of German shops (last time I visited, most shops were closed on Sundays). Also, Germans don’t always have very positive customer service attitudes 🙂

    • Yes, I think I had figured it out with my second comment! Haha. Sorry! And you are absolutely correct in that customer service is almost non-existent here. As for the shops, yes they are closed on Sundays and sometimes that’s disappointing, but I admire the reason behind it. 🙂

    • I’ve met a few germans who said almost the exact same thing that your saying…..its a very interesting comparison

  20. Reblogged this on writermummy and commented:
    I’ve never been to Costa Rica but it sounds like we could all learn more about living the Pure Life.

  21. Beautiful photographs!! Wow – and coffee on the beach is quite a way to spend day two!

    And ok, so I heard that a lot of these countries with this kind of “cut you off” driving – well I heard they also have more dash cams than other countries – and they “have” to have those dash cameras for litigation reasons if/when accidents happen – so was wondering if you have seen many dash cams – because they may say “Pura Vida” – but if you crash into their car they will be saying, “press play” so we can see who is at fault. ha ha 😉

    • Y. Prior..

      I’ve heard about the dash-cam’s as well….but not here in costa rica, I’ve never seen any. There was a SUV in the ditch yesterday, and I stopped for a moment and the driver didn’t even seem upset. he acted as if, “oh well, these things happen”

    • sounds like Pura Vida! and with that in mind, off to go and grab a cup of java – but sadly, it is not going to be on the beach. Have a great day!

  22. Hey Kenneth,
    It’s been a while,
    All the best on your tour,inspired and very brave of you to do.Hope it all goes well and can’t wait to hear more on your adventures.So far so good.

    Coffee on me in London.

    All the best mate.

  23. There’s a version if Buddhism known as Pure Life. The attitude you describe here reminds me of it. Thanks.

  24. Pura vida – live your life and enjoy. 🙂

  25. Well, it would be nice if they had access to better health care. No doubt there are some problems that saying “pura vida” cannot fix. Costa Ricans seem to have a philosophy of accepting things as they are, whereas most Americans think that they need to change and improve their lives. There is some merit to each perspective. It’s a serenity prayer thing. But it helps to have waterfalls;)

    • Linnet,

      yea I’m not completely sure what the whole health care situation is like here. I know that they have free health care that is covered via taxes (tourism pays for most of the government programs) but I don’t know the specific details of what the health care is like

    • That sounds better than I imagined. Maybe I should move to Costa Rica;)

  26. Beautiful! Soak in every moment. Kenneth, this post is mind blowing. You’ve found a way to make us feel like we’re in Costa Rica. Dreaming of Pura Vida here, and now you’ve proven that it’s freaking awesome there. I say strive for Pure Vida everywhere. So envious! Enjoy!

  27. Reblogged this on en espérant rêver and commented:

    I want to learn to enjoy being the moment, the scenery, the people around me. Give me the pura vida.

  28. “Pura Vida” thanks for reminding me Europe. People would sit in cafe for hours smiling and laughing,long walks on the coast, crazy drivers that seemed normal to everyone, breaking rules and say ohh well.. Shit happen.. So calm,cool, and forgiving. Some of them would say: ” I got nothing, but don’t miss anything” Harmony is the Greatest Wealth.
    Maybe in few years after I safe some money I’ll taste ” Pure Vida”

  29. Your project has given me pause for thought…I wonder, after visiting so many places this year if you would end up moving to a new home at the end of the year…an adventure unfolding before our very eyes. 🙂

  30. he obvious question is: drum roll, please….why would you ever come back here? It sounds like paradise.

  31. Man, I want to go there some day. It sounds pretty chill.

    That said, I like living where I am and doing what I do. Certainly you can have Pura Vida where ever you go. I’m a fast paced person. When life slows down, I get antsy. I’m happy when I am moving and running around because I feel like I’m living.

    There are many who are not like me, though, who could use a slow down. I think a lot can be gained in life by simply taking a deep breath and focusing on what will make you happy. I don’t mean that to be a selfish statement, either. Few of us would be happy if we ignored, and subsequently hurt, those we love. Happiness isn’t about doing everything for yourself, but about doing whatever it is that will fill your life, and the lives of those around you, with joy.

    • TK, I’m actually with you on what your saying; because I’m pretty much at peace in my little community…….perhaps in a few years I wouldn’t mind living down here full time though 🙂

      “Happiness isn’t about doing everything for yourself, but about doing whatever it is that will fill your life, and the lives of those around you, with joy.”

      awesome statement 🙂

  32. Kenneth – I’m getting ready to take a team from our church on our fourth mission trip to Costa Rica… beautiful country, beautiful people! Pura Vida!

  33. beautiful sunset photos!
    I’ve never been to Costa Rica but it seems most countries in the world have a slower pace of life then we do in the USA. One of the main reasons I’ve been trying to find a way to leave here for so long. Would it be possible to slow things down here so we can all enjoy that again? It seems a LOT of people would like to have that lifestyle. Personally, I think we’re too far gone 😦

  34. If we all lived this way, there would be a lot more peace and harmony. Americans have too much “me” attitude. In reality, we are all in this together.

  35. Wonderful! Are you in Manuel Antonio? We lived there for 8 months last year and only returned due to family issues that had to be taken care of. We long to get back. The best way to describe what Costa Rica does for someone who falls in love with its peace is to relate it to the movie Lost Horizon from the 70s. The trendy Americans find Shangri La but have to return home. In the sequel (which was awful BTW) the main character is obsessed with returning because he simply cannot shake the place from his being. There is a definite sense of loss when we leave Costa Rica. Two vacations and we were ready to be there always. It is indeed the people and their love of life that make it most appealing. Thanks for your very apt description of this paradise.

    • I’m actually sitting at a café in Manuel Antonio as I type this to you 🙂 I’m here till tomorrow and then I’m off to a different part of the country.

      “It is indeed the people and their love of life that make it most appealing”

      so true. Even though the landscape of costa rica is breathtaking…..for me; its the people who are so warm and inviting that make the place incredibly awesome.

  36. ‘Pura vida’ is the same thing in Portuguese. Costa Rica, as well as Brazil are, in cultural terms, hot climate cultures. Ah the differences between hot climate cultures and cold climate cultures. Relationship vs task, inclusion vs privacy (a book on this would be ‘FOREIGN TO FAMILIAR
    A Guide to Understanding Hot and Cold Climate Cultures’ – haven’t read it, but think it would be a good one) There are good and bad to both cultures, and I’ve learned – or should I say – am still learning that relationship is so much more important than the task that needs to be done (Mary and Martha). I love living in Brazil, but I do still hold to certain ‘Canadian/cold climate’ values.
    Thanks for such a great post.
    Blessings =)

    • When I get back I will check that book out, it sounds like something I would totally be in to….

      I’d actually love to visit brazil….I don’t speak a lick of Portuguese and that is the one thing that makes me a bit hesitant because at least when it comes to Spanish speaking countries I know enough to get around and understand the people.

    • I want to read it too, once I get the chance. After the enormous pile that is still waiting to be read =).

      You know, Spanish and Portuguese are very similar languages. It is, however, more difficult for a spanish-speaking person to understand a portuguese-speaking person because there are more phonetic sounds in Portuguese. When my husband and I were living in Argentina (he was doing a journalism course there), people could never understand him when he spoke Portuguese in his natural accent. However, when he spoke Portuguese to them with an ‘Argentine’ accent, they could understand him. I bet if you took a quick course in Portuguese for travel, you’d have no problems.

      Blessings =)

  37. I live on the Isle of Man, which is not quite Costa Rica, but I wholeheartedly agree with what you say. Things don’t matter, it’s peace of mind that matters, so though I don’t always comment on your posts I hope you don’t mind that I have reblogged this post so that others can read your words

    “Traa-dy-Liooar” as the locals say in Manx Gaelic, or “time enough” in translation, and once you get lost in your own thoughts, or even better vstop thinking whennyouare upmin thge hills or down by the shoreline, then nothing else seems to matter at all

  38. Reblogged this on Let me tell U a story and commented:
    Hi everyone, I don’t often reblog but this is a post well worth reading, and maybe with a message for us all

  39. This post reminds me of my visit in one of the smallest island in the Philippines.
    The life there is so laidback. People have always time for each other , a little chat about simply about anything. At night neighbours gather after dinner for a karaoke, or tell children some local legends.
    Fresh seafoods, vegetables are abundant and shared with neighbours. The beach, the waterfalls, the rivers are always available to everyone.

    I live in Sweden and its an undeniable beautiful country to live in but if situation allows I’d give it up to live in a more slow-pace and live life. I feel like here, I’m just existing but when I’m in the island, I live.

    I’m looking forward to visit the island again some time on July.

    Great post 🙂 So many things to ponder ^^

    • “I live in Sweden and its an undeniable beautiful country to live in but if situation allows I’d give it up to live in a more slow-pace and live life. I feel like here, I’m just existing but when I’m in the island, I live.”

      everything I’ve seen and heard about Sweden makes the place sound so beautiful….but I’ve also heard what you’re saying; that it tends to be like many other Western Countries in the fast paced nature of life.

  40. A little like heaven on earth. 😀 Nice!

  41. I’ve never been to America, let alone Costa Rica, but I’ve been to Spain quite a few times as I live in England and it is similar to how you describe Costa Rica.

    Literally, you can just go out at night til 6am and wake up at 3 and then just enjoy the last of the Sun. Everyone is out on the beach playing volleyball or tanning, and then nobody actually seems to work. If they do they have small jobs like working at a bar or something, and then when the bar closes they come out with everybody else! Everybody is really social. If you see a nice looking girl at the bar you can go up to her and start a conversation, and she likes it. If you did that England they’d probably think of you as weird!

    It’s so chilled out but never stops as people are living and loving life at the same time. England bores me, yeah we’ve got the NHS and good education and all this but now that I’m 20 I’d like to see more of the world rather than a few hills, some cows and a boring office.

  42. Reblogged this on filosofiacontempoemas and commented:
    I do like this very much!

    • After living in CR for 8 mos. we became aware of the “human” side of things. There is a ring of truth to the items in this list; however it is greatly exaggerated. What I cannot fathom and am curious about myself is why this particular author speaks in the sense that they are still there, as in quotes about “here in Costa Rica”. No one is a captive in the country. In fact they make it very challenging to remain there legally so that a person must really WANT to live there to stay. Why dont they come back to the states? I believe there is one universal truth regarding theft. “If we didnt have so much stuff to begin with we wouldnt have to worry so much about losing it.” And that goes for any country one might live in. And dont worry. Costa Rica is catching up. The teens are more and more exposed to our ways and the youth will evolve-unfortunately. Ill go back if I am able. It is truly a simple life, as can no longer be had here due to increased cost of everything. Everyone must make their own choice. At any rate, it is indeed a lovely place to vacation, with a little money or a lot.

    • In any case, sounds like a beautiful place.

  43. A ten day ten trip to El Peje, Costa Rica convinced me I’m retiring there.

    Pura vida!

  44. Man…I want to go to Costa Rica. 😦 I’m not sure I’ll ever have the money though damn. I may just have to go live there I guess lol. Sounds to me like the Costa Ricans have the right idea of what life is really supposed to be about. The greedy have taken over here and it stinks. Oh well. Glad you’re enjoying your trip so far! 🙂

    • Jen, my entire trip: airfare, accommodations and food for 10 days will be under $900 per person

    • Wow! That’s awesome; Please keep in mind though that I make less than $13 an hour LOL. That’s what I get for working as a writer for a small paper. Tsk tsk. Still, that’s pretty good. You’ll need to fill me in on how you did that because that’s going to go high on my list of things to do very soon then. Hmm – you got the wheels turning for sure and tax time is coming up…double hmmm. 🙂

  45. Wow, I think ‘Pura Vida’ to the Costa Ricans is something from within rather than based on their materialistic gains. Everyone’s meaning of a successful happy life is different and I think the main difference with the west and the rest of the world is that we in the west put such an overwhelming emphasis on our materialistic gain and appearance. We must have the house, car, career etc. in order to obtain ‘Pura Vida’, yet the reality is that this is actually a hinderance to it. We end up getting weighed down by the debt and stress of it all.
    I have also noticed from my personal travels the amazing amount of time I have elsewhere. Somehow the days in the west, feels like hours (and there’s never enough) and the days elsewhere feel like days.
    I wish you safe travels and really hope you find that ‘Pura Vida’!

    • “Wow, I think ‘Pura Vida’ to the Costa Ricans is something from within rather than based on their materialistic gains”


      “I have also noticed from my personal travels the amazing amount of time I have elsewhere. Somehow the days in the west, feels like hours (and there’s never enough) and the days elsewhere feel like days.”

      SO TRUE!!! every time I’m down here a day seems like a week! its such a strange phenomenon….I don’t entirely understand it…but even when I go on holiday back in the states a day doesn’t feel longer than when I’m not working….but in places like Costa Rica the days seem so much longer; which is also strange since the sun sets so early!

  46. Wow! Its 2 for 1 burger night at Barba Roja. Yummm. I miss that. Sigh.

  47. Sounds like your trip is going well! Love the photo of the ocean…looks just like Santa Barbara. 🙂

  48. thanks to a law that in English is translated as “Squatters Rights“

    What’s the original Spanish for that? I speak/read/write reasonably fluent Spanish so I’d really like to know and can’t find it quickly with a web search– thanks.

  49. be carefull . . . those thoughts may open doors that once opened refuse to close. Happens to a lot of us at about your age . . .

  50. Sounds like my kind of country. Taking time to enjoy the people around you and live life.
    One cup of coffee a view at the ocean be it your picture… pura vida my friend enjoy the moment.

  51. makes me want to get off my own little hamster wheel and at least visit. I found a similar attitude in the Dominican Republic – and the traffic! I didn’t even attempt to drive in it! I did get a ride on a motor cycle ‘cab’ and loved it!

  52. I’ve been to Costa Rica three times, and actually considered moving there at one point. Until I went to Guatemala. Costa Rica is beautiful, eco-friendly, and relaxed. Unfortunately, it is overrun with expats. It has zero indigenous culture, and zero authentic adventures. Give me the volcanic, gritty, slightly dangerous Lago Atitlan with its rich Mayan culture any time.

    PS, do you get kickbacks from the apostrophe industry? 😉

  53. Mindfullness in practise, I would say. I agree in all you say BUT I also think there us a value in wanting to experience (not buying) new things and places. To want to develop. But that is me.

  54. I will be there on Monday. Most of the time I will be working with kids in a poor barrio of San Ramon. I hope the people are as friendly as Nicaraguans. No quiero agringarme!

  55. My teenage daughter just came back from a school trip to Costa Rica and she was so enthused with the friendliness of everyone she met. All the school communications included ‘Pura Vida’ on them so I am so grateful finally to have someone explain this to me.

  56. Wealthy is the state of mind, where one finds joy, even without an elite bank account. There’s a difference between complacency and embracing the most simplistic aspects of life. What’s here today is easily gone tomorrow, so it seems residents of Cost Rica understand what many in “first world” nations do not…money and extravagance do not make you happy, you do.

  57. Great post! You’ve certainly made me want to visit Costa Rica, and there is so much in your reflections that resonates with me. ‘Poverty’ isn’t just about lack of material comfort, it’s about having the joy in life whipped away from under your feet by an impossible to sate hunger for more, giving you no time to actually enjoy the richness of life that is happening around you. Sounds to me like Costa Ricans have got their priorities right, so what can we in the west do to reset ours? Blessings, H xxx


  1. Forcing USA values on other countries…REALLY??? « The Culture Monk
%d bloggers like this: