Pura Vida – what does it really mean?
From the moment you step out of the airport into the happiest country in the world, there is a term that you will learn very quickly. Pura Vida is a phrase that you will hear from every one you come in contact with in Costa Rica, guaranteed!
The literal meaning is ‘Pure Life’, but it is taken way beyond that simple translation and is, for most Costa Ricans, a way of life. People get much more relaxed than these guys.
In Costa Rica there is a lot to be happy about. Let us share some statistics about this small, happy-infused country that sits in between Nicaragua and Panama.
-In 1949 their military was abolished, and the country has since reallocated those funds to education, health and pensions.
-They are a world leader when it comes to environmental protection. The Costa Rican government uses taxes collected on the sale of fossil fuels to pay for the protection of forests.
-In 2015, Costa Rica was able to produce 99% of its electricity from renewable sources.
-People living in Costa Rica have higher wellbeing than the residents of many rich nations, including the USA and the UK, and live longer than people in the USA.
So what is there to see and do in Costa Rica that makes people so happy? There really is something for everyone: adventure, nature or relaxation. Whatever your preference, here are a few ideas to tempt you!
National Parks in Costa Rica, such as Manuel Antonio and Cahuita boast an incredible number of mammals. Two- and three-toed sloths, howler, spider, squirrel and white-faced capuchin monkeys, anteaters and more. Make sure you take a moment to look up to see the sloths hanging from the power lines like pairs of tennis shoes. And when you see one monkey, you are surely going to be in for a treat because rarely are they on their own; it’s always going to be a big troupe so have your camera ready! The beaches in and around Manuel Antonio are exquisite too. So if you are done with sloths and monkeys, it’s perfect for some relaxation, perhaps with a fresh coconut.
Tortuguero is renowned for it’s turtles: Green, Leatherback, Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Olive Ridley are all found here! It is a truly magnificent experience seeing the females lay their eggs and/or watching hundreds of baby turtles run to their destiny. This natural wildlife wonderland includes around 57 species of amphibians, 111 species of reptiles, and 60 species of mammals. More than 300 species of birds also live here. Watching the magic of Tortuguero unfold from a hammock for an afternoon is an absolute must.
If you love adventure activities, Monteverde and La Fortuna are your places to be! Zip lines, bungee jumping, horse riding, volcano hiking, hot springs, rafting, rapelling are all available with agencies who know how to show you an exciting time safely! Shooting above the canopy of the jungle Superman style, stoking your adrenaline or at a more passive rate on a hike across hanging bridges, horseback riding through the magnificent countryside, taking in all the fresh air you can handle or spotting the elusive Quetzal bird in the cloud forests! Monteverde and La Fortuna are known as the adventure capitals for good reason!
For relaxing, you can’t beat the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. There’s a vibe here that makes you really want to watch the surf, grab a beer, slow down and relax in a hammock! It’s also a chance to get up close with the wildlife of Costa Rica and learn more about just how important all of the animals are to this small country!