There’s a reason why Costa Rica is such a popular tourist destination. The happiest people on the planet, verdant tropical landscapes and biodiversity unlike few other places on the planet. Amstar dmc Destination Manager Emilio Canales shares a few things you should know before making your next trip to the land of Pura Vida.
Hawaii has its Aloha and the Swahili speakers of Tanzania their Hakuna Matata, but what about Costa Rica? What do the people of this Central American nation, known as ‘Ticos’, say in response to practically any and every essential question about life?
Pura vida. Pure life (or real living, depending on the translation).
But apart from its literal translation, what exactly does it mean?
First and foremost, pura vida is not some catchy slogan made up by an advertising agency to promote tourism. It actually is a way of life for the millions of people that call Costa Rica their home. From the baker to the banker, the dancer to the designer, the artist to the architect, ticos of all generations and throughout the country incorporate this multi-functional saying into their daily routines.
Two words with seemingly little meaning when put together, in reality pura vida contains layer upon layer of intricate meaning and is the backbone of national identity. Hello, goodbye, how are you, how’s life, that’s great, and beautiful. All these expressions and many, many more can be summed up with this phrase that in reality vocalizes a lifestyle; a way of seeing the world.
But to better understand the idea behind pura vida, let’s take a look at where this iconic phrase came from. Contrary to what you might think by the fact that it is now so intertwined with Costa Rican identity, pura vida is a relatively new phrase born of a Mexican film by the same title.
The 1956 film stars Mexican comic and actor Clavillazo. In the movie, Clavillazo plays the role of a comical character who suffers through a whole range of misfortunes. In spite of the circumstances and his seemingly endless bad luck, our bumbling gent has one answer for all his adversities: pura vida.
In the following years, the saying slowly began to take its place in the Costa Rican vernacular. First taken up by the youth, the phrase began to become engrained in the everyday speech of practically all sectors of society. Today, it is the utmost national expression of Tico national identity.
Pura vida is casual and sincere, expressing something so complex yet so simple that it escapes a large part of our humanity: pure life. Live the moment and just be. That’s pura vida, and that’s your invitation to visit this wonderful and vibrant country in the heart of Central America.
In the meantime? Pura vida!
Amstar dmc has offices located in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica, and offers world class transfer services as well as the top tours of the region. Contact us toll-free at 1 (877) 329-4461 and start planning your next tour to the land of pura vida today!
Feature photo credit: Tim McGrath (flickr.com)