Pura Vida! 

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They say Costa Ricans are the happiest people in Central America, and perhaps in the world! This attitude is reflected in their everyday speech. Whether you’re saying hello, good-bye, or how are you, Ticos (Costa Ricans) say, “Pura Vida!” which means the good life, or more loosely, “Life is Good!”


On a recent trip to Costa Rica, we learned all about the culture, history, and geography of this tiny, but important country. It’s about the size of West Virginia or Denmark, and is located between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. On the Eastern side is the Caribbean, and on the western side is the Pacific. Down the center of the country is the continental divide and two main volcanic mountain ranges that run the length of the country. They have continual seismic activity, which woke me up one night. But normally, the quakes are so small you don’t feel them.


The volcanos can be dangerous, and in fact, one erupted while we were there and closed down the airport for a day. Luckily that volcano was in the south and we were in the north, so we weren’t affected at all. Arenal, pictured below, destroyed 3 towns in 1968. It happened so quickly that many people could not escape and over 70 lives were lost. These towns are now under a man-made lake.


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We were told that to be considered a town, you had to have things, and this was very true! 1) a church, 2) a school, 3) a supermarket, 4) a soccer field, and 5) a bar. Many towns had nothing else! It made me wish I could walk or ride my bike to every place I needed to go. 


Most people live in tiny, cinder block homes and work hard for a living. They grow much of their own food…


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Man spreading out beans to dry.


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Pineapple Plant

… and raise chickens and cows in the back of their homes. 


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Many can’t afford cars, so you’ll see quite a number of people riding their bikes to work or school, even through the mountainous areas! 


And yet, to Costa Ricans, life is good! We could learn something from them! I know I did. 


1. Choose to be happy. Speak happy words often. Smile. Laugh. Be silly!


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2. Grow some of your food, so you’ll appreciate it. Take the time to cook foods from scratch. 


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3. Sit down and have a cup of café con leche with a friend.


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4. Get some daily exercise and a little sunshine. Go for a hike…


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or a horseback ride…

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or paddle down a river.


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5. Enjoy nature…


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6. Be amazed by God’s creatures!


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7. Support local farms, churches, sports, and businesses (like shops and let’s say, restaurants instead of bars).

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8. Eat (and drink) chocolate!


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5. Don’t worry about tomorrow or live in fear of what might happen. Enjoy the moment…


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… even when s—t happens!


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And, if you’re really interested in traveling to Costa Rica, here are a few more pix that show highlights of our trip, and might give you some ideas.


Our first stop: Finca Rosa Blanca in the coffee hills.

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Tour of coffee plantation:


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Next stop, Silencio del Campo and the hot springs near Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna Waterfalls:


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And now we travel to the Hidden Canopy Treehouse Hotel in Monteverde Cloud Forest.


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Where we zip-line over the canopy:


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And hike the hanging bridges:


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We end our trip at Hotel Capitan Suizo in Tamarindo, on the Pacific Coast:


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This hopefully gave you a taste of the good life in Costa Rica. Pura Vida!



© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™