What is the Meaning of Pura Vida

Pura Vida is a phrase that has become popular all around the world. From Costa Rica to Europe and everywhere in between, it’s a motto embraced by surfers, travelers, entrepreneurs, and more. But what does Pura Vida mean? Is there more to this simple phrase than meets the eye? In this article, we’ll explore the meaning of Pura Vida and why it’s been adopted as an international attitude towards life.

The literal Spanish translation of “Pura Vida” is “Pure Life.” It reflects a positive outlook on life, focusing on enjoying everyday moments with friends and family and having gratitude for everything you have instead of wanting more. For some people, living in Pura Vida means taking time out each day to appreciate nature or practice mindfulness. The idea is to enjoy yourself and be conscious of your actions and their effect on others.

Whether it’s used as a catchphrase when greeting someone, saying goodbye, or as a reminder to stay grounded during difficult times, it can have many meanings depending on who you ask. Ultimately, everyone agrees that no matter where you are in life–whether things are going great or could use improvement–it’s important to embrace every moment with positivity: Pura Vida!



Origins Of The Phrase

The origins are unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the 1950s or 60s. Some say it was coined by a Mexican movie named Pura Vida that was shot in Costa Rica then, while others believe it was used by a tourism campaign to promote the country. 



Cultural Implications

The phrase is more than just a saying for Costa Ricans – it’s part of their cultural identity. In the country, it is an expression that can be used in almost any situation and has a variety of meanings depending on context. Here are some things you need to know about its cultural implications:

  • It symbolizes peace and solidarity
  • It represents a laid-back lifestyle
  • It conveys gratitude for life’s simple pleasures

These positive attributes have made the phrase popular with tourists visiting Costa Rica, who often incorporate it into their daily language. As such, it has come to represent something more significant: the spirit of generous hospitality that characterizes many people from this Central American nation. By adopting the term, visitors respect local customs and values while opening themselves up to new experiences and relationships.



Welcoming Attitude

It’s a welcoming attitude you can feel when you meet someone for the first time or go out for dinner at a restaurant. Instead of worrying about what could go wrong, it encourages us to appreciate the positive things in our lives and appreciate them. With this mindset, we can live life fully without stress or worry. This outlook is infectious and helps bring people together from all backgrounds and walks of life, creating solid relationships based on mutual respect and appreciation.



La Pura Vida Lifestyle

Living ‘La Pura Vida’ is like breathing fresh air. It’s an attitude and lifestyle that encourages us to take life as it comes, find joy in the small moments, and enjoy each day for what it offers. This phrase is often used in Costa Rica as a greeting or farewell; however, its true meaning goes much deeper. For many people living in Costa Rica,  it embodies their way of life: one filled with optimism and gratitude no matter their challenges.

With this mindset, you make time to relax, appreciate nature around you, and connect with friends and family. The values associated with it are based on being kind to others and enjoying what we have been given instead of focusing on material possessions or status symbols. People who practice this philosophy strive to lead healthy lives by eating nutritious foods and engaging in physical activities such as hiking or swimming while also enjoying leisurely pursuits like reading or painting. By looking at the world more positively, those who live this way can learn how to savor life’s simple pleasures without worrying about modern society’s stressors. With these practices ingrained into everyday life, individuals become closely connected with themselves, their community, and the environment, which will benefit them for years. 



Businesses Incorporating ‘Pura Vida’

From fashion labels, such as Pura Vida Bracelets, to coffee companies like Café Pura Vida, this Costa Rican phrase is becoming an international lifestyle brand.

The success of businesses that have embraced ‘Pura Vida’ could be due to its versatility in meaning:

  • Positive Outlook: It can express gratitude for everyday moments or remind someone to stay positive despite hardships.
  • Enjoyment of Life: It encourages people to live and experience life joyfully and enthusiastically.
  • Relaxation: It promotes taking time from everyday stressors and enjoying simple pleasures.


In addition, many businesses incorporate ‘Pura Vida’ into their branding through apparel lines featuring images like sunsets, surfboards, palm trees, etc., all representing the relaxed attitude of living the lifestyle. These items attract customers who want to share in the laid-back atmosphere associated with the phrase. As a result, it has become an expression of modern culture rather than just a Costa Rican proverb.



Merchandise And Artwork With ‘Pura Vida’ Motifs

The phrase has been used in art, merchandise, and other products to promote the Costa Rican lifestyle. The phrase is often seen on t-shirts, hats, mugs, and jewelry. It can also be found on posters and wall hangings that feature tropical scenes or images of animals native to Costa Rica. Some businesses have even created logos featuring words with a stylized shape of the country itself. 

These products are popular among locals and tourists as souvenirs from their travels. They serve as reminders for those who experienced it firsthand but also introduced this important phrase to visitors who couldn’t visit the country themselves.



Why Should You Visit Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a small country in Central America but a destination that should not be missed. This tropical paradise is known for its biodiversity, which includes over 500,000 species of plants and animals. Costa Rica is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, making it a popular destination for surfers, beachgoers, and sun-seekers.

In addition to its natural beauty, Costa Rica is known for its adventure activities, such as zip-lining, white-water rafting, and hiking. These activities are a great way to experience the country’s rugged terrain and unique landscape.




The phrase is a powerful mantra that has come to represent the heart of Costa Rican culture. It’s not just a slogan or saying; it’s an attitude and lifestyle choice. The phrase has been incorporated into businesses nationwide, positively affecting tourism as travelers seek its true meaning. From artwork to merchandise featuring bold graphics and colors, ‘Pura Vida’ motifs are everywhere in Costa Rica.

-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does Pura Vida mean?

Pura Vida means “pure life” or “simple life.”

What can you do in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica offers a range of activities, from adventure sports like zip-lining and white-water rafting to relaxing on the beach or exploring the country’s natural beauty.

What is the currency in Costa Rica?

The currency in Costa Rica is the colón.

Is it safe to travel to Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is generally a safe destination for travelers, but it is always important to take common-sense precautions and be aware of your surroundings.

What language do people speak in Costa Rica?

Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, but many people also speak English, especially in tourist areas.

What is the best time to visit Costa Rica?

The best time to visit Costa Rica depends on your preferences. The dry season (December to April) is the most popular time for tourists, but the rainy season (May to November) can also be a great time to visit for lower prices and fewer crowds.



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