Lessons learned from the culture of Pura Vida in Costa Rica - Ahulan

Lessons learned from the culture of Pura Vida in Costa Rica


Dominican Republic’s papayas

There is a good chance that these two terms are the most essential words to be familiar with while traveling to Costa Rica. A cheerful morning greeting, an answer to the query “How are you?”, or a “No worries” if you are running late for a friend are all examples of what the term pura vida might imply. The word technically translates to “pure life,” but it can also signify a variety of other possibilities. However, it is much more than that; it encompasses the concept of living a healthy life and making the most of the pleasures that are there in daily life. Carpe diem, if you will, is the motto of Costa Rica.

The nation that is the happiest in the world


One of the nations that has been ranked as having the highest levels of happiness is Costa Rica. The fact that it is home to one of the world’s Blue Zones is not unexpected given that it does not have an army, because it contains about 6% of the world’s biodiversity, and because it has approximately 800 miles of coastline. Blue Zones are regions in the world where people live the longest and are the healthiest. Ticos, who are Costa Ricans, who reside in the Nicoya area often survive well into their 90s. This is believed to be due to a mix of factors, including a good diet, a focus on family values, and a pura vida strategy for living.

In the event that you are fortunate enough to go to Costa Rica, maybe for the purpose of volunteering on a Wildlife Rescue Project, you will have the opportunity to personally experience the pura vida way of life. In any case, there is a great deal that we may take away from the culture of the Ticos.


Costa Rican cuisine and its culture

As a result of the focus placed on local goods in Costa Rican cuisine, a significant number of dishes are centered on delicious fish, freshly harvested fruit, and rice that is grown in the surrounding fields. Maintaining an emphasis on natural, uncomplicated components is an excellent method for ensuring that you are consuming a substantial amount of beneficial nutrients. On the other hand, it does not have to be dull! The dish known as ceviche is a great illustration of how even the most basic of ingredients can be filled with flavor. A citrus juice marinade is often used to prepare this zesty salad, which is typically paired with some kind of white fish or shellfish. The fish is “cooked” and tenderized by the citric acid of the fruits, which is often lemon or lime. This makes the fish ready to be consumed with strong flavors such as tomatoes, chili pepper, coriander, and avocado.

Food dubbed Gallo Pinto

What you eat is not the only thing that matters in pura vida culture; what matters more is how you eat. Ticos are known for their warm and welcoming nature, and they place a strong emphasis on family. Long lunch breaks are somewhat of a tradition since they provide families the opportunity to gather together, eat, and digest a meal that is rich in nutrients and consists of rice, beans, and meat. The Costa Rican breakfast, which is known as gallo pinto, is even more well-known than this casado, which is served around midday. The origins of this dish are a topic of considerable contention, and it is impossible to discover two recipes that are identical to one another since every family has their own unique approach to preparing it. The fundamental components, which consist of rice, beans, and eggs on occasion, remain unchanged. On occasion, you may also find more veggies, such as tomatoes and onions, included into the meal, and it will nearly always be lavishly topped with Salsa Lizano, which is a brown sauce with a tangy flavor. A meal of gallo pinto will set you up nicely for whatever the day may throw at you, especially if you are spending the day outside at the wild beaches on the Osa Peninsula. The health advantages of breakfast are well-known all over the globe, and a plate of gallo pinto won’t let you down.

In Costa Rica, enjoying a Churchill sundaeThe tradition of pura vida in RicaCosta Ricans, on the other hand, are able to strike a balance between enjoyment and health. There are times when nothing but something sweet would do after a very hard day. There are a number of roadside kiosks where you may get freshly squeezed fruit juices, such as mango, papaya, and passionfruit. Additionally, the delicious Central American tres leches cake is a fundamental component of the local sodas (restaurants). In addition, if you go to the city of Puntarenas, you will be able to locate a dessert that is known as a Churchill. This dish is similar to an ice cream sundae and is composed of sliced fruit that is served with condensed milk, cream, and ice.

The culture of pura vida is best exemplified by this equilibrium between foods that are nutritious and those that are decadent. Pleasures are something that should be savoured, and times spent with family should be cherished. In some of our volunteer projects in Costa Rica, you will have the chance to experience this. For example, you may be able to stay with a family that is a homestay, or you may be able to take Spanish classes while also working at an animal rescue center.

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