What Does “Pura Vida” Mean in Costa Rica?

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What Does Pura Vida Mean in Costa Rica?

Pura Vida is a term used all over Costa Rica and it can mean just about anything. Although the literal meaning of this term is “pure life”, when you visit Costa Rica you will find that the locals use this term in all facets. Pura Vida was coined in Costa Rica, that is rated one of the best places to live in the world and one of the happiest countries on earth. Costa Rica and Pura Vida are one entity built from Costa Rica’s gorgeous climate, incredible wildlife, pristine beauty, exotic wild jungle, and it’s inviting and welcoming people and culture. In this country, Pura Vida is not just a motto but the way of life.

What Does Pura Vida Mean?

As stated before, the literal meaning of Pura Vida is “pure life”, however it is a versatile expression that is used in various different scenarios:

  • Greeting: Hello or Goodbye: Costa Rica locals often exchange these words for Pura Vida.
  • Affirmation: Locals often use Pura Vida as a term for affirmation. For example, if someone asks, want to hang out tomorrow? You can answer, Pura Vida! Let’s go!
  • Emotion: Pura Vida is sometimes used to express emotions for various occasions. For example, they had a Pura Vida (amazing) time at the festival.
  • Gratitude: The term Pura Vida is also used as a synonym for gratitude or thank you.

What is Behind Pura Vida?

While it’s not confirmed where this term originated, according to some, the term derived in the 1950s from a Mexican film, where the main character used the phrase throughout the film, and hence the term migrated to Costa Rica. In the 80s, Pura Vida became part of Costa Rican vocabulary and has been there since then in all aspects of Ticos’ lives.

Why is Costa Rica Pura Vida?

While there are many reasons Costa Rica is Pura Vida, one thing is for sure: Costa Rica and Pura Vida both define each other. Following are a few key reasons why:

  • The weather in this country is ideal. It’s neither too cold or too hot. The average temperatures in most regions range from 71 F (22 C) and 80 F (27 C) throughout the year. That’s why there is truly no bad time of the year to visit Costa Rica. It is Pura Vida throughout the year over there!
  • Good life or the pure life is what this country has to offer. Costa Rica has a thriving democracy as they have no army. As a result, they spend more money on education and hence the country has about 98% literacy rate.
  • Costa Rica is a biodiverse country. Over 500,000 species inhabit this country. At Osa Peninsula, you will find about 5% biodiversity of the world. It’s a place full of life!
  • Since Costa Rica is a small country, people there seem to know each other virtually anywhere they go. In this country, it’s quite common to go to the bank, supermarket, or a restaurant and run into somebody you know. The Ticos are very nice and friendly people. They greet both friends and strangers warmly.

The Bottom Line

Pura Vida is the way of life for the Ticos. It goes through life in a carefree and serene way. You can choose to see the Pura Vida in all good and bad situations that come in life. This is one of the primary reasons why Costa Rica is considered one of the happiest places on the planet!

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