I had no idea where to start on my exploration of Costa Rica, so I've just been doing some google searches, and I keep coming across the phrase Pura Vida. Literally translated it means "pure life" but the meaning is said to be more like "this is living" and "going great!" It's a phrase that can be used in tons of situations - greetings, to say thank you, to express satisfaction. It seems to sum up the sentiment of many Costa Ricans and their sunny outlook on life. Costa Ricans, known as ticos, are sometimes called the "happiest people on earth" ...probably because they live in such a beautiful place - check out some of the images in the youtube video below. Droooooool........I think I found my next vacation spot.
In trying to figure out what makes Costa Ricans tick, it seems that they are very interested in community, protecting the environment (the Costa Rican government even announced that they are trying to be the first carbon neutral country by 2021), enjoying life slowly, and celebrating good fortune.
Costa Rica has been categorized as a "Blue Zone" - a place where common healthy traits and life practices has resulted in longevity in residents, and a higher number of people that average live active lives past 100 (other blue zones include Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; and Icaria, Greece). Some of the traits that these groups share include strong family bonds, not smoking, plant-based diets with lots of legumes, constant moderate physical activity, and lots of social engagement.
Sooooo, so far Costa Rica seems pretty ideal. I'm sure I'll find some stuff out that scratches beneath the surface a bit, but I can already tell that researching this country will be quite different that learning about the Congo. I kinda miss reading about the Congo...it's hard to switch over:( I'm sure I'll find lots to love about Costa Rica though...I already REALLY want to go there. Except I hear they have lots of bugs....yikes.