What is Pura Vida?

What is Pura Vida?

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The Tico Lingo blog is a mix of informative pieces written by our faculty and personal stories from past students.

What is Pura Vida?

Heard literally everywhere throughout the country, “Pura Vida” goes way beyond the simple English translation of “Pure Life”. It’s been in the local dialect for over 50 years and is sure to be heard by anyone coming down for a visit to this beautiful country.

Literally pronounced POO-rah VEE-dah, it represents a sort of Costa Rican philosophy. I tell students at the school it’s a synonym of “hakuna matata.” and means life is wonderful; go enjoy it. It’s a phrase and symbol representing the relaxed culture and slower pace of Costa Rica.

I’ve had many a conversation with locals about what this phrase means to them. Many believe that the more foreigners grasping this concept, the better the world will be. The more people taking a step back, looking at their lives in the perspective of others, and really learning to relax, the better for all.

It’s a hard right turn from the American Dream I was raised on and, after being here for nearly 6 months, I think I’ve forgotten the rat-race and really soaked up the Pura Vida lifestyle.

Below are some examples of how I hear the team used throughout my day-to-day:


Hey Tamara! Pura Vida?
Everything’s great! Thank God!

Hey there! How is everything?
Pura Vida! And you?

See you tomorrow!
Pura Vida! Bye!

Thank you very much!
Not a problem! Pura Vida!


¡Hola Tamara!, ¿Pura vida?
¡Todo bien! Gracias a dios.

¡Buenas! ¿Como está todo?
¡Pura vida! ¿y Usted?

¡Nos vemos, mañana!
¡Pura vida, chao!

¡Muchas Gracias!
¡No hay problema! ¡Pura Vida!

Chris Reidy | Program Director

August 24, 2015

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