Usual Costa Rican conversation:
Question: Pura Vida? (meaning “How are you?”
Response: Pura vida! (meaning: very well, thanks!)
Question: Are things going well at work?
Response: Pura vida! (meaning: yes, good!)
Comment: I am going to the beach this weekend.
Response: Pura vida! (meaning: great! enjoy!)
Question: We are going to Arenal in the weekend… How are the hanging bridges?
Response: They are Pura vida! (meaning: very nice!)
Comment: Well, Pura Vida! (meaning see you later!)
Response: Pura Vida! (meaning: see you later!)
One of the things that a Costa Rican hears when traveling in Latin America, as we say who are we from is that… “Ah! Tica… Pura Vida?”
‘Pura vida’ is used exclusively in Costa Rica so understanding its meaning and using it throughout your vacation can help you understand a bit of the Costa Rican culture and people.
We use it with our children and with our grandparents, and the fact that it has gotten to the souvenirs stores is only a consequence of its continuous use, not, as some people have asked me, a commercial thing that came to be used by the people.
One of the things you find about Costa Ricans, from minute one in the country is that the people is genuinely nice… But the people is nice because, in general terms, Costa Ricans are happy people.
We value time with the family and time with friends and we value time to help other people. It will not be weird to see a Costa Rican getting out of their way to show you an address or take you some place. Just because. no reason but to make you feel welcome.
Pura Vida is a life motto you see?
It tells you about the essence of the Costa Rican way life… Pure Life.
It talks about the abundance of our forests, but it also tells you about a subtle abundance of joy and time to enjoy it. Pura Vida is a language itself. We understand it naturally and speak it naturally. However is a language that can be experienced, learned, shared and definitely enjoyed! It is the Costa Rican language at its best.
As a funny and interesting detail… our happiness is so subtle Costa Ricans don’t even realize we have it… It is there, like a flower or a sunset… Pure and simple. And it goes unnoticed mostly all the time.
So, whenever in Costa Rica, now you know… Pura Vida?… Pura Vida!