Pura Vida, living your best life in Costa Rica

Feb 22, 2018

On a trip to Costa Rica, I re-discovered some of the joys of my life. As a diplomat I had
often traveled. It was part of the job. I really enjoyed being in a culture that was not much
like the American culture, and I found particular satisfaction in functioning in another
language. For some years in my retirement, I opted not to travel much, but when I landed
in San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, the joys I used to know so well came flooding back.

Walking through the central market in San Jose, there is a bustle, there is a hum, of
people making their best life. The Ticos (what Costa Ricans call themselves) call it “Pura
Vida.” It doesn’t translate directly but it means you’re making the most of every moment to
make your best life. Everywhere you travel in Costa Rica, someone is wishing you Pura
Vida. The Ticos use it for hello, good-bye, but more precisely it means “don’t miss an
opportunity to have the best life you can.”

My six days in the country were fantastic. Between mounting hills beside volcanoes,
touring a coffee plantation, swimming in the Pacific Ocean, or ziplining high above the
rainforest, I felt blood pulsing through my veins in ways that were astounding. On the
zipline, my FITBIT told me my heart was pulsing at 145 beats per minute. Exhilarating!

Travel is a wonderful way to wake up dormant senses and remember to make your Pura