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Steiny’s World: Living La Pura Vida in Costa Rica

They have a great expression here in Costa Rica: “Pura Vida.” Literally, it means the Pure Life,” but it can be used and translated in a variety of ways. As a greeting, for example.

And that’s how many people responded to me when I arrived at the Hacienda Pinilla resort on the Pacific coast of this Central American land. As if they want to be sure I enjoy the pure life while I am here. Or more accurately, the good life. Folks also use “Pura Vida” as a sort of adjective. If you were to say: “I’m going surfing today,” they might respond: “Pura Vida.” Like a stoner dude saying: “Excellent.” The phrase is a way of saying everything is cool, and it also is how people in this Spanish-speaking land describe the relaxed lifestyle that exists here.


I think of those two words after I finish a round of golf on the excellent Mike Young course here, and savor a local rum by the beach at sunset, with waves gently running up the spacious, white-sand beach and palm fronds rattling in the wind. Then, I chuckle as I notice a trio of songbirds sitting on the branch of a tree right next to me, looking out at the ocean, as if they were enjoying the view as much as I was.

“Pura Vida,” I say to no one in particular as the sun disappears behind the Pacific.

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