What is “Pura Vida”?

“Pura Vida” has been in the local dialect for over 50 years and is sure to be heard by anyone traveling throughout Costa Rica.
By Emily Maulding

By Emily Maulding

Since first experiencing the culture and people of Costa Rica in 2015, Emily has become a fond lover of everything the country has to offer. She's a travel writing having published for blogs and magazines all over the world. When not writing, Emily enjoys a hot cup of tea, reading, knitting, and listening to live music in her hometown of Austin, Texas.

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’ve heard many refer to it as a sort of synonym for “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 a few months, I think I’ve forgotten the rat-race and really soaked up the Pura Vida lifestyle.

Examples of How It’s Used

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!


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


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


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


See you tomorrow!
Pura Vida! Bye!


¡Nos vemos, mañana!
¡Pura vida, chao!


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


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

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