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Understanding Pura Vida: How to Embrace and Use It

Meaning of Pura Vida pronounces poo-rah vee-dah is “pure life” or “simple life” and costa Ricans made from this sentence a way of living.

Generally, this term is used in Costa Rica, one of the most beautiful Central American countries when you want to say hello or goodbye when you want to say everything is cool or great.

For Ticos or Costa Ricans, this is a way of life not just some simple worlds used extremely often all over the country.

Pura Vida for Costa Ricans is like Hakuna Matata for people from Africa; these two expressions are more than words, both are a way of life.

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What does Pura Vida mean in English?

The phrase Pura Vida in English means “simple life” and defines perfectly the way Costa Ricans live and guide their day-to-day activities.

The term was used for the first time around the 1950s and it became famous a few years after the Mexican movie “Pura Vida!” was released.

Meaning of pura vida Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort Costa Rica

Meaning of pura vida Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort Costa Rica

In the movie, the phrase is used by the main character when he wants to express his optimism and joy for life despite the negative situations he is in.

So, because of this Mexican movie, Pura Vida Costa Rica meaning express positivity, optimism, and joy and is the motto of one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

Starting with the early 1970s the phrase becomes popular all over the country and today it represents a way of life.

Meaning of Pura Vida and when Costa Ricans use it

Like I said earlier Pura Vida translation in English is “pure life” and it is used by people when they want to greet you and make you feel welcome or even when they want to say goodbye to you but in a happy and friendly way.

On the streets of Costa Rica, you will hear very often people saying one to each other Pura Vida instead of good morning, or good afternoon or even goodbye.

When someone tells you Pura Vida the first thing you should do is to greet him or her with a big smile and then answer them back with the same expression.

Costa Ricans are extremely happy and celebrate life; they are thankful for everything they have and happy to live on this planet.

Costa Rica Map San JoseEven when something wrong happened to a Costa Rican, he keeps his smile and tries to see the positive aspects of the situation because this is how Ticos are.

Actually, Pura Vida is the perfect answer for many social situations you get into during your stay in this magnificent country.

Let me give you some examples to understand what I am trying to say which is the fact that this phrase is perfect for almost any situation.

When somebody comes to you and asks you “How are you” or “Como estas” you can give him a big smile and say, Pura Vida which means that everything is fine, you are doing great or that you feel absolutely perfect.

Or here is another situation…. When you give a present to a friend or someone from your family or when you do something good to a person and he or she says thank you you can reply with Pura Vida instead of saying “you welcome”.

Pura Vida translates also as “it’s ok” and let me give you an example: when you are late to a meeting and the other person tells you this phrase this means that he is not upset with you and that everything is fine.

Here is another situation when you can use this phrase and there is a different meaning of what you called Pura Vida for Costa Ricans.

When something bad happened to you like you lost a train or a bus if you want to act like Ticos you simply use the word “Pura Vida” which means that this is life and there will be other trains or buses to catch to get to your destination.

Obviously, you can get mad and upset but this is not what costa Ricans do, so when you are in Costa Rica and you want to act like locals that these minor things should not bother you as life is beautiful and you have to be happy all the time.

All these situations give the Pura Vida meaning in English and now you know when and how to use this expression and you understand the meaning of it.

It’s like French people say “c’est la vie” as it has the same signification and much more than that as it is a way of living, it is a Pura Vida lifestyle.

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Costa Rica pura vida meaning

The meaning of Costa Rica concentrates on 4 main dimensions and generally refers to a laid-back atmosphere and relaxing vibe.

It is exactly the same philosophy as “Hakuna Matata” from Lion King or “c’est la vie” used by the French people.

If you want to live in the Pura Vida philosophy you will have to remember and respect the dimensions from below:

  • don’t waste your time with peanuts and focus on what is important in life
  • don’t let yourself be upset by minor things
  • take some time to relax
  • live your life calmly and don’t be in a constant hurry.

Don’t waste your time with peanuts and focus on what is important in life

We tend to run after money, gadgets, expensive cars and houses, luxurious trips, and other immaterial things, but life is not about these elements.

It is about family, friends and your beloved ones as these things matter and if we don’t have friends and family with us we have nothing.

When we are upset, or when we want to celebrate we invite our friends and family to join us; we don’t party and celebrate with a gadget.

So remember what is important in life and stop running after immaterial things; do like Costa Ricans and you will be happier than before.

Don’t let yourself be upset by minor things

We generally tend to get upset by minor things or when something does not go as we want or as we expect.

For example, if we plan a picnic and outside is raining, we generally get upset because we saw how our plans got ruined suddenly.

But Costa Ricans take life as it is and say “Pura Vida” and move forward with a big smile on their face without letting these minor things affect their lives and don’t care so much.

Take some time to relax

It is good to have money and cars and properties and to look after your kids and your family but it is extremely important to have some time for yourself.

Tamarindo Beach Costa Rica Surf

Tamarindo Beach Costa Rica Surf

You always have to book some time to relax, enjoying life and do things that you like because otherwise you will be overwhelmed by all the things that happen in your life.

Go out with your friends, book spa therapy, go to a manicure or read a book, no matter what you choose to do but do something for you every day if possible, or at least one day a week.

Live your life with calm and don’t be in a constant hurry

This century taught us to be in a constant hurry and to have no time to look around us and observe simple things that happen in our lives.

The meaning of Pura Vida is also to slow down things and to take time to observe minor things that happen around you like the singing of a bird, the beauty of a tree, and so on.

Costa Ricans do this and they are happier, more relaxed, and appreciate more what they have and what happens in their lives.

What you have to know about the Pura Vida meaning is that it is not enough to use this term, you also have to feel it as it is in Ticos way of life and culture as you will see when visiting Costa Rica.

You need to learn to be grateful for what you have, and don’t get bothered with stupid and small things, and always see the positive side of a situation.

If more foreigners embrace this life concept, the world will be better and happier than it is today.

To remind me about their way of life I always have with me a Pura Vida bracelet and when things to crazy I stop and reconsider my attitude and position.



What are the 4 meanings of Pura Vida?

The term Pura Vida has the following meaning for those living in Costa Rica: “ That is life!”, “Everything is cool!”, “Oh well” and “I’m doing well”.

The meaning of Pura Vida is different and depends on the context and the time when it is used.

As a general thing, Costa Rica is Pura Vida which means that people live after this concept and they put the accent on what matters in life and appreciate small things.

What does Costa Rica’s slogan mean?

Costa Rica is famous all over the world for its rich biodiversity, laid back atmosphere and is known to be among the happiest countries in the world.

The national slogan “Pura Vida” represents a way of life and can be translated as Enjoy Life or Live Life and it refers to what matters in life and how important it is to keep a positive vibe even when bad things happen to you.

How do you use Pura Vida in a sentence?

Pura Vida is a sentence that can be used as it is without adding more words and it refers to a way of life not just to a phrase.

You can say Pura Vida instead of hello, goodbye, or even thank you.

You can also use Pura Vida when you want to show somebody that you are not upset or that a bad situation does not affect you negatively.

Why do they say Pura Vida?

Pura Vida means pure life or simple life but keep in mind that this is not just a simple expression, it is a way of life.

Costa Rican uses this phrase when they want to say hello, goodbye, or when somebody wants to show that everything is fine despite the negative events that have happened.

They say Pura Vida to show you that everything is OK, life is beautiful and we have to stop and observe little things that happen around us.

What do you say when someone says Pura Vida?

First of all, you have to give that person a big smile and a positive attitude and then you should answer with Pura Vida showing to others that things are great and you celebrate the beauty of life and you are grateful for what you have.


Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation
We always use as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance
We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money.

When we go for longer trips around the world we get Globelink Insurance as it offers a good cover for an affordable price.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected costs caused by medical events like illness, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.


Tuesday 21st of March 2023

Still like to know what the word travel means in Pura Vida travel oil.


Thursday 9th of March 2023

I think you've missed the most important aspect of pura vida. Pura vida means embracing life directly, not your story of it. Direct experience of reality. It's used in greetings to remind each other to drop into the present moment, and embrace that you don't know what the universe has in store for you. When something goes unexpectedly "wrong", and then things work out even better than you planned, that's pura vida. Off the map, into reality.

Perhaps you left out this aspect on purpose, as maybe it's not for the uninitiated