Post Tagged with "America"

Costa Rica is “pura vida”!

If someone asked me to describe my country in one or two words, I wouldn’t think twice about it.

Pura vida” would be the answer. The most commonly used phrase in Costa Rica literally means “Pure life”, but the saying goes beyond its simple translation: it’s a way of life. Contextually, then, it symbolizes the idea of simply enjoying life and being happy. As the Urban Dictionary states, it’s a synonym of “hakuna matata” and reflects the relaxed lifestyle of Costa Ricans.

Foreigners can hear this Spanish expression in informal settings as a greeting, a farewell and as a way to express gratitude or satisfaction. It can also refer to someone who is nice and friendly.

-¡Hola Tamara!, ¿Pura vida?              -Hi Tamara, ¿Pura vida?

-Muy bien, gracias a Dios.                   -Very well, thank God.


-¡Diay Felipe! ¿Cómo vas?                  -Hey, Felipe! How’s it going?

-Pura vida, ¿y vos?                             -Pura vida, and you?


-¡Nos vemos mañana!                          -See you tomorrow!

-Pura vida, ¡chao!                               -Pura vida, bye!


-¡Muchas gracias!                                -Thank you very much!

Pura vida!                                         Pura vida!


-¿Usted conoce a María?                    -Do you know Maria?

-¡Claro! Ella es muy pura vida.           -Sure! She’s very pura vida.


But where did Costa Ricans take this phrase from? According to a study of the expression by Anna Marie Trester, a film called Pura vida came to Costa Rica from Mexico in 1956, directed by Gilberto Martínez Solares. In the movie, “Pura vida” is the expression of eternal optimism used by a comic character, played by the actor Antonio Espino, who unfortunately can’t seem to do anything right. While a small population used it then, the phrase “Pura vida” was used nationwide by 1970.

Since this exclamation has become so popular in Costa Rica throughout the years, it is now common to find different kinds of businesses named “Pura vida”. Touristic ones such as hotels, language schools, travel and real state agencies, among others, make use of this idiomatic expression, even outside Costa Rica. Along with businesses and advertisement, the phrase is a must in souvenirs of all kinds. That’s the reason why “Pura vida” is even found in Costa Rican Spanish dictionaries.

Happiness, well-being, conformity and satisfaction is what “Pura vida” reflects; it identifies a Costa Rican wherever he or she may be. When you say, hear or see “Pura vida”, the facial expression of the person changes and a smile is drawn on his face. It is a very meaningful word for us “ticos” (Costa Ricans) because it reminds us of home and its beauty.

Just as Dr. Delise Dickard expressed in her article The simple bliss of ‘pura vida, even a tourist can understand what “pura vida” means by spending some time in this small country in Central America.

So, if you want to know what living a peaceful, simple, uncluttered life with a deep appreciation for nature, family and friends, just come to Costa Rica and experience it yourself! ¡PURA VIDA!

Read more:
The world’s happiest country celebrates peace and freedom
What do Costa Ricans eat for breakfast? – Gallo Pinto
Kiss, hug or shake hands? Greetings around the world

January 26, 2010 33 comments

Tumbling around the USA

This week’s Blog of the World definitely shows a new side of life in the USA.

Olivia, Nathan and their son Tristan are on a road trip around the USA in their RV (motorhome for those of us not fluent in American!). They are web designers, so they can work from anywhere that has an internet connection.


The family set off from Pittsburgh in August and are currently in Austin, Texas. When mum and dad are not coding they are busy homeschooling Tristan, who is 7 years old.

Tumblewagon is the story of their adventures. As you would expect from a pair of tech-friendly web designers, this is no ordinary words and pictures blog – there are also video and podcast entries.

October 23, 2008 2 comments

Speaking Franglish

This blog is a true cross-cultural adventure, written by two people from different countries who have never met. Sarah lives in Seattle, USA and Valentina is Italian but lives in Marseille, France.

In Franglish, Sarah and Valentina take turns to publish a letter to the other one about what’s going on in their lives. The project started in April 2008 and they will exchange letters via their blog for one year.

September 21, 2008 4 comments

East Coast Adventures

UPDATE (July 2009) Coastal Commentaries is no longer available. To read more on life in the USA try our other listed USA blogs.

In Coastal Commentaries Lala writes frequent updates from Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA. It’s a new blog but there’s already plenty to read about life on the East Coast.

One of the things she often points out about life in Cape Canaveral is that nobody seems to be originally from there. This applies to Lala as well – she grew up in the land-locked South.

Sunset at Cape Canaveral from Coastal Commentaries

Otherwise, it’s a relaxing read about life by the sea, with walks along the beach, trips to local restaurants and discovering the Florida State food Conch fritters.

August 15, 2008 2 comments