Pura Vida! Come on, say it with me! Not only is it an expression of happiness, its a way of life! Meaning Pure Life, Pura Vida is the most commonly used phrase in Costa Rica and symbolizes the idea of enjoying life and being happy. The Urban Dictionary states its a synonym of the word “hakuna matata” (meaning no worries/no problems) and is a reflection of the laid back, easy lifestyle of the Costa Rican’s, some of the most wonderful people on earth! Costa Rica is considered to be one of the happiest countries in the world mainly because the people who are lucky enough to consider this home, don’t stress out about things like the rest of the world does. They have a very simple way of looking at life and don’t dwell on negativity.
If you’re visiting, you’re likely to hear it used as a “Hello” or a “Goodbye” by the locals. Also used as a way to express gratitude and satisfaction, it can refer to someone who is friendly and nice. Its an emotion. An attitude.
So how did this catchy phrase come about? Well, it dates back to 1956. A mexican film, called Pura Vida, directed by Gilberto Martinez Solares, made its way to Costa Rica. The films main character, played by Antonio Espino, who remains optimistic even though he is surrounded by unfortunate circumstances, used the phrase generously in situations where it wouldn’t normally be used. It caught on and has been used nationwide since 1970 and has even made its way into the Costa Rican Spanish dictionaries.
Since Pura Vida has become so popular in Costa Rica over the years, you’ll often see it used in business names, hotels, travel and real estate agencies. Along with businesses and advertisement, Pura Vida is a must have in souvenirs of all types. Areas outside of Costa Rica even make use of this idiopathic expression.
Happiness, well-being, and overall satisfaction is what Pura vida reflects; it identifies a Costa Rican wherever they may be. When you say, hear or see Pura vida, their facial expression changes and a smile comes across their face, an awesome reminder of how laid back and relaxed they are. It is a very meaningful word for the“ticos” (Costa Ricans) because it reminds them of their home and its beauty.
If you’ve never experienced such simple, laid back living, come to Costa Rica! Even visitors will soon understand the meaning of Pura Vida and why its such an amazing lifestyle.