What does Pura Vida mean?

July 06, 2021

If you've ever travelled to Costa Rica, then you most likely know + love the phrase "Pura Vida" as much as I do. But if your high school Spanish aka Español is a tad bit rusty, I probably have had you wondering what the heck I mean when I sign off #FelizFriday with "Pura Vida, Kristen".  

 

What does Pura Vida mean? Pura Vida unicorn shells on the beach in Costa Rica. Written by Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea at The Sunset Shop.

So what does Pura Vida mean?

For Costa Ricans, affectionately known as "Ticos", the phrase Pura Vida is much like the Hawaiian saying “Aloha”. Pura Vida translated to English means “Pure Life,” but the phrase goes beyond the translation. Pura Vida is a way of life for Ticos - - it represents the idea of enjoying life and being happy.

 

Did you know that Costa Rica tops the “Happiest Planet Index”? Yes, there does exist a measure of country happiness!!!

For Ticos, Pura Vida is used in a lot of different situations and the phrase is usually accompanied with a bright smile.:

  • It can be used as a greeting or as a farewell,
  • as a way to express thanks or excitement,
  • or pretty much anything else that represents the Pura Vida positive outlook,
  • AND, in my case to describe one heck of a sunset in Costa Rica, like aptly named "Pura Vidadise" below:

    Stunning red sunset clouds in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Photographed by Kristen M. Brown for The Sunset Shop by Samba to the Sea.

*PURA VIDADISE*

 

Also, when you visit Costa Rica, pay attention to how Ticos use the phrase Pura Vida - - you may hear them say “Pura vida mae” or “Pura vida mop”. No, don’t think that they are talking about an actual mop!!! “Mae” and “Mop” are Tico slang for the English equivalent “man/dude/bro”. 

Got it? Good! 

 

Palm trees at the beach in Nosara Costa Rica (Playa Guiones). "Welcome to Pura Vidadise" Nosara Costa Rica print photographed by Samba to the Sea for The Sunset Shop.

 

P u r a   V i d a,

 

 

Do you have more questions about Costa Rica?

Click here to read more of my Costa Rica tips, check out the highlights in my Instagram stories "CR Tips", or feel free to email me and ask away!

*[Blog post originally posted on 5/23/17, updated 2021]*


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