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Blog: Costa Rica… Pura Vida!
Here, our Marketing Manager Emily gets under the skin of Costa Rica and shows us that it’s so much more than just natural beauty and adventure, but a place of complete positivity and warmth.
When I touched down in sunny Costa Rica last May, my driver, Freddie, was waiting for me at the airport. ‘Pura Vida!’ he shouted, when he saw me. Pure life… eh, come again? This greeting was far from the ‘Buenos Dias’ I was used to on Latin American soil and I was curious to find out what it meant and when I could use it. The answers? Everything and all the time it would seem! You’ll say hello as you walk into a shop and get a cheery ‘pura vida!’ back; you’ll ask a waiter how he is and ‘pura vida!’ will be the reply. Pura vida seems to encompass the attitude of this cheerful nation, but in reality, it’s more than that – it’s the way of life too. Costa Rica is a country that’s truly committed to sustainable living and eco-tourism; be it Steven, the expert guide at Mawamba Lodge, who pointed wildlife out to us before we’d even thought to look, or all the amazing community and wildlife projects that Pacuare Lodge runs to give something back and protect its environment. Somehow overlooking the rainforest canopy from your own private dipping pool is even better when you know it’s fed by water from the mountain that trickles back down to the river rushing below you...
There’s a reason I’ve begun this blog post talking about pura vida… If you’d asked me why you should choose Costa Rica as your next holiday destination before I’d had the chance to visit myself last May, I still could have given you several perfectly valid reasons. I could have told you about the amazing and diverse wildlife you can see (over 850 varieties of birds and over 450 mammals) or about the country’s stunning scenery of lagoons, rainforests, cloud forests, beaches and volcanoes. That there’s something for everyone in a country where you can spend your days trekking, rafting, bird watching and zip-lining and then spend your nights in anything from an eco-lodge hidden in the forest to a boutique private villa with views to a beautiful coastline.
What I couldn’t have told you about though is how charmed I’d be by the Ticos (slang for Costa Ricans) and their happy outlook on life. The love and respect the local people have for their country is infectious and before going, I wouldn’t have known about the feel-good feeling that just 12 days in this wonderful country left me with. It’s something that’s hard to put in words so whilst I’d urge you to visit Costa Rica for the wildlife, the lodges and the excursions, I’d tell you that you had to go yourself to really experience the pura vida.
My ‘pura vida’ moments in Costa Rica:
• Walking along the beach at sunrise in Tortuguero.
• Having dinner with friends on Mawamba’s Lodge’s floating restaurant with only the noise of animals and the lights of Tortuguero town in the background as we sailed down the lagoon.
• Daring to glance at the views of the beautiful Arenal volcano and lake as I whizzed above the forest on a zip-line.
• Relaxing in the gorgeous Tabacon Grand hot springs.
• Daring a naked outdoor shower at Pacuare Lodge… Not very British but definitely pura vida!