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Culture

The term “Pura Vida” or “Pure Life” is a phrase that truly embodies the Costa Rican way of living. As a term that Ticos use day in and day out, it is a constant feature in both the spoken language and every day life of Costa Ricans. Pura Vida is a parable for Costa Rica’s relaxed attitude and used as a paraphrase for summarizing thoughts that need not be said. Pura Vida is shouted from the rooftops at parades and festivals, it’s shared among friends when they “Cheers” or offer the toast of “Salud!” when drinking their Imperial beers, it’s a response to “Como estas?” and is used in lieu of “You’re welcome.”.  Pura Vida is both a greeting and a goodbye. It’s a statement about a relaxed life and how it should be lived while taking advantage of the beautiful and lush land where one resides. Costa Rica is brimming with colorful culture and one needs only to walk through a local town to get a taste of what keeps bringing tourists back time and time again.

In Costa Rica, coffee is known as the “golden bean,” a moniker that touches on the plant’s contribution to the local economy and the place it holds in Costa Rican hearts. When you visit Costa Rica, you owe it to your taste buds to sample several local cups of coffee. A trip to any local grocery store will introduce you to a wide range of organic and local blends for a fraction of the cost. Costa Rica’s most famous coffee growing regions are located high in the Talamanca Mountains and along the volcanic regions where soil is very mineral-rich.

As you make your way through Costa Rica’s windy roads, you’ll find yourself face to face with elements that transport you back in time. Costa Rica places a huge importance on its agricultural efforts and locals still utilize the traditional brightly colored oxen-pulled cart known as “la carreta” to transport their bounties, which serve as a reflection of the spirit with which the farmers work the land. This combined with the local horse culture, remind you of times-past and evokes a sense of nostalgia as you experience the country.

Costa Rica’s history is as thickly woven as it is colorful and while its indigenous population was never as strong as it’s Central American neighbors, the indigenous Boruca and Bribri groups that remain are a testament to the rich history of the nation. Located on the southern Pacific coast, the Boruca Indigenous Reserve is home to nearly 2,000 members whose expert woodworking skills and exuberant annual celebrations have earned the group national fame – and a dedicated rural tourism following.  The Bribri’s live in the Northeastern part of the country in the Talamanca Mountains toward the Caribbean Coast. Here they reside in the Talamanca Indigenous Reserve, the largest of Costa Rica’s 21 Indigenous reserves, and one of the least developed regions of the country.  Accessed via the Yorkin River, the Indigenous Reserve operates as a woman-run eco-tourism co-op where tourists can visit for the day or spend longer stays learning about their culture, their organic farming and their infamous chocolate making.

Be it a boisterous game of beach soccer or the overwhelming pride for the national soccer team, soccer is ingrained as a national pastime for all Costa Ricans. You’ll find yourself welcomed with open arms into a pick-up game of soccer in any town. Costa Ricans are proud of who they are and where they came from and are more than willing to open up and share the magic that makes their little piece of paradise.

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