Costa Rica: Living La Pura Vida

In Costa Rica, "pura vida" means much more than "pure life" or "take it easy"—it is the expression of eternal optimism.

Uttered often in the jungle-shrouded Central American nation, “pura vida” is used as a greeting, as an answer to questions, and as a general reference to how things are going. Stay awhile, and this saying can change your perspective.

It was about midway through my National Geographic private expedition to Costa Rica that I found myself kicking off my sandals to sit on the grass of La Fortuna's quaint town square. A warm breeze was shaking the palms, Ticos—as Costa Ricans call themselves—passed by on motorbikes, and I envisioned myself living the pura vida.