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What exactly does Pura Vida mean? We went in search of meaning in Costa Rica

When you go backpacking in Costa Rica, you are guaranteed to encounter the term “Pura Vida”. Whether you are standing in the jungle with a guide or stretched out in a hanging mat by the sea, you will hear the term “Pura Vida”. But what exactly does Pura Vida mean? What do the Costa Ricans mean by it and what is the literal meaning of this term? We looked it up for you and share our experience with you!

What exactly does Pura Vida mean?

Pura Vida is an expression, a motto or a motto and is actually used daily by the locals in Costa Rica. The term actually says a lot about how Costa Ricans think about life. The term Pura Vida means that you have to enjoy, get everything out of life, that something is beautiful or “full of life”. It means you shouldn’t worry about meaningless things. But it also means that something or a place is beautiful, you can really use Pura Vida at all kinds of times. It is actually a bit similar to the “No Worries” statement that you hear a lot in Australia, but then you can use Pura Vida even more widely. Or compare it with being mindful, it also fits well with that attitude to life. Although it sometimes happens that Pura Vida is given as an answer when someone asks how things are going, while it actually isn’t even going very well. A “that’s life” answer, “life is life”. If you hear it that way, you can compare it to Americans saying “How are you?” as soon as you enter a store and everyone always asks “Good, how are you?” back says out of automatism. The conclusion is therefore: There is actually no unambiguous meaning for Pura Vida.

What is the meaning of Pura Vida when you translate it?

If you translate the words Pura Vida into Dutch, the meaning is “Pure Life”. But as you can read above, that literal translation is not exactly what is meant, it is actually too incomplete. Pura Vida does not only mean pure or intense life, but also that you really have to enjoy it and be in the moment.

These pictures show me the meaning of Pura Vida

El Silencio lodge spa in Costa Rica waterfalls-4

El Silencio Costa Rica hot tubzip lining costa rica arenal sky adventures begin

Examples of a Pura Vida moment

When dealing with Costa Ricans you will notice that at all times the motto of life is called Pura Vida, screamed or whispered. Typical moments I have experienced are for example:

  • Just before you fly deep through the jungle on a zipline, you hear your guide shout “Are you ready ?! Yes? Pura vidaaaaa! ” and with those words in mind you shoot through all those shades of green. If you don’t believe us, check out the video below from 0:20 to 0:30 and try lip-reading as soon as the guide comes on screen!
  • If you lie in a hammock with a view of the sea and a freshly made smoothie or cocktail has just been brought to you, you won’t find a better relaxing moment, right? To enjoy!
  • When you make music with new friends after eating a fantastic meal together, a typical moment to whisper Pura Vida!
  • When you discover a toucan, monkeys, sloths or other mighty beasts in the green wilderness that overgrows Costa Rica, a moment of realization.
  • “How are you?” the answer to that question will more than once in Costa Rica “Pura Vida!” be it good or bad, Pura Vida. Seize the day, enjoy life.

Pura-Vida-Vibes in Costa Rica