Costa Rica

“Costa Ricans never stop talking about pura vida, or ‘pure life.’ Apparently it’s from a 1950s Mexican film, which is odd. But say it enough, and it starts to make sense.”

  • Green frog in Costa Rica
  • Dolphin Tour in Costa Rica
  • Flowers in Costa Rica
  • Kaffee plant in Costa Rica
  • Red Macaws in a line, Costa Rica
  • Volcan Irazu in Costa Rica
  • Volcan Irazu landscape in Costa Rica

Discover Costa Rica

Philippe Brown reports in from his Costa Rican hideout:

The expression pura vida can actually mean a number of things, depending on the context. But essentially it sums up the aspirations of a people who celebrate life and the unspoiled beauty of their country. You take luxuriant rainforests, pristine beaches and incredible biodiversity – add a spirit of hospitality that’s both wonderfully warm and perfectly chilled – and you’ve got, well, pura vida. The key ingredient for any luxury holiday adventure.

Ecotourism was born in Central America, and Costa Rica was in the vanguard. Whether you’re a family hoping to get closer to nature or a group of adrenaline junkies seeking coast-to-coast biking, hiking, surfing, horseback riding and whitewater rafting, no Central American country is better suited for tailor-made adventure.

From the Rio Reventazón, with its world-class rafting and mountain biking (guided by our expert local friends), you can head north to hike in the jungle around La Fortuna. On the excellent trails, the humid air is heavy with exotic scents. And all those weird creaks, croaks, squawks and howls that at first seem so weird soon become – thanks to your expert guides – completely decipherable and all part of the magic.

There’s great walking and biking around Arenal Volcano. You can also fly over the smoldering giant by helicopter, or hike up for a look by night. Then retire to a private hot spring to ponder, cocktail in hand, how things would play out if the thing actually erupted. Would it matter? Pura vida.

Next, maybe a zip-line flight through the canopy in Monteverde Cloud Forest, accompanied by an ecologist and cheered on by toucans. Then head west to where the Pacific surf’s up and discover (or rediscover) the joys of riding a board with a pro. Pura vida, dude. Alternatively, fly south to hike river and rainforest trails in Corcovado National Park, keeping an eye out for tapirs, jaguars and scarlet macaws.

To crown your eco-experience, hit the Caribbean coast and Tortuguero National Park. Sailing on your private yacht as the crew looks after everything with relaxed precision – or unwinding in your luxurious Crusoe-style beach house with a few leatherback turtles lounging nearby – you can refine your definition of pura vida. And then figure out how to bottle it for those long winter days back home.

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