A rough translation of Pura Vida in Spansh would be Pure Life.
(Those literal and pedantic would be undoubtedly be quick to say a literal translation in Spanish would be ‘Vida Pura. To them I say ‘ir golpear arena’.)
And that’s how Costa Ricans live. Of all the people I’ve met in my recent and lifelong travels, I’ve seen that Costa Ricans are the epitome of the ‘live for today’ philosophy.
One might think that this character trait might lead to vs lifelong obsession with irresponsibility. “Let’s not work today! Life is short! Off to the beach!”
That’s what I thought at first too. But that’s not how it works.
Instead of griping about the weather or the damn traffic, they launch themselves into their day with gusto and enthusiasm.
Like Samuel, the coach driver for the last 3 decades, loves his job, every day. Why? “I get to meet interesting people from all over the world. I get paid to drive around my beautiful country!”
Nicholas tends bar. One would think that serving drinks might grind on his soul.
“People come here to have a good time. My best times are when groups of people come in to celebrate. Could be their team just won the game, someone’s a new daddy, someone got promoted. I get to share in their good times. I love it!”
And what about the alcoholics trying to numb themselves with booze every day?
“Sure, that happens too. And some pick fights. It’s all part of it.”
He pauses for a moment.
“There are more good, fun days than bad ones. I love it here.”
Ernesto is the last guy in the world that you would think that lives the Pura Vida life. He’s a security guard at the front gate of the resort.
He’s not supposed to get involved on conversations with nosy busybodys like me, but he gives me a moment. “People count on me,” he says, “to make sure they’re safe and their belongings are safe. That’s a big responsibility.”
My time in Costa Rica came to an end too soon. I must return to this place soon and refill up on Pura Vida.
But now, off to Panama.