Yes, pura vida! Which means pure life. This phrase in modern Costa Rican culture is used in lots of ways. It is often used as hello, goodbye, thank you and cool. It can also be used as an expression to let others know that everything is great and going well.

Although pura vida literally means pure life, in proper Spanish you would say “vida pura.” This proper translation brings it closer to how the phrase is commonly used to mean, “this is living,” “full of life,” or “real living.” Expats use it to express a life full of leisure, without regard for time or responsibility. Costa Ricans on the other hand use it to express their cultural philosophy and their way of life–community, enjoying life slowly, celebrating good fortunes both small and large, persevering in tough times, being resilient and maintaining good spirits.

How It Got Started

The origin of the phrase is actually Mexican. It got its start when a Mexican movie called ¡Pura vida! arrived in Costa Rica in 1956. The movie portrayed a very optimistic character that kept saying pura vida for things in which the phrase would not have been used normally. Decades later, Costa Ricans have adopted it wholeheartedly and use it dozens of times a day.

The Simple Bliss of Pura Vida

When visiting Costa Rica and hearing pura vida all day long, you can’t help but be infected with the energy of happiness and having a sense that all is well in the world. Who wants more life? more happiness? more joy? We do. People want pura vida! 

Add More Pura Vida to Your Day

When someone says:          You say:
“good morning”                     “pura vida
“see you later”                       “pura vida
“thank you”                            “pura vida
“see you tomorrow”              “pura vida

So, next time the world is beating you up, take a moment and say pura vida! This too shall pass. It wouldn’t hurt us one bit to adopt pura vida as an emotion, attitude, happiness, and a way of life.

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