In Costa Rica, the phrase “Pura Vida” is commonly heard to represent “the good life,” or the relaxed, healthy lifestyle this part of the world is known for.
Over the past 10 years of leading my yoga teacher trainings in Costa Rica, the Pura Vida way has truly transformed my body and soul. Even in the two weeks my students are here, I see it become a part of them, too.
Yes, the pristine beaches and wonderful wildlife would make it common sense to be a very happy place, but there is so much more to it. While are so many gorgeous, tropical places to travel to, let me share with you why Costa Rica keeps calling me back year after year.
Thanks to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica is officially labeled “The Happiest Place on Earth,” coming in at #1 on a list of the 151 countries analyzed. It is also considered one of the Blue Zones, which is based off of places where people live the healthiest and longest lives.
Though happiness can be in the eye of the beholder, here are some common threads as to why Costa Rica comes out on top.
Costa Rica is known for its low ecological footprint and ecotourism activities. I mean who wouldn’t enjoy ziplining through the jungle, waving at sloths and toucans as you go? The people here have placed a high priority on preserving and cultivating its plants and wildlife.
Not only does Costa Rica naturally produce a paradise-like environment, but its people work hard to take care of it, too.
In 1949, Costa Rica dissolved its armed forces and invested in education instead. This investment has led to a more stable society with less contention, has increased gender equality, and has improved its economy.
If only more countries followed their lead. How much more good could we do in the world with more quality education instead of weapons?
Healthy Daily Life
Blueszones.com states that, “Costa Rica enjoys a higher life expectancy than many developed countries despite spending just 15% of what America does on health care.” Perhaps it’s their natural resources instead of medical resources that make it this way.
Locals eat a diet that is rich with fresh antioxidant fruits and vegetables, a low amount of processed foods, and, in certain parts of the country, drink water that contain a high amount of calcium and magnesium.
Their ecotourism economy promotes spending days moving and out in nature. They also spend a lot of time out socializing with family and close friends. It’s hard to stay isolated on a computer in a place like this!
I see the Pura Vida way being much like the yoga way. It’s a way of life that appreciates and connects to the earth and all that inhabit it. It honors times of rest and times of joy. It’s a perfect place to nourish our body, mind, and soul and find our happiest life.