Living the Pura Vida Lifestyle in Costa Rica

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Guest Post by: Charlie Marchant

“Mañana, mañana,” my neighbour Ester says smiling, and waves me away implying now is not the time. It’s a phrase I hear all the time out here in Costa Rica. It translates as “tomorrow, tomorrow” but really means putting something off indefinitely to keep life simple and stress-free. People might say it regarding money they owe, or a husband might say it to his wife when talking about cleaning out the gutters.

Lifestyle in Costa Rica - Charlie pet sitting dogs
Appreciate What You Have – Charlie pet sitting dogs

I asked my neighbour Ester for 12 fresh eggs. She gets them off a friend down and adds a little on top for herself. Tomorrow, she promises. Six days later than expected, I receive 16 eggs instead. It’s the Costa Rican way and part of what’s called a ‘pura vida’ lifestyle.

What is Pura Vida?

Pura Vida translates from Spanish to mean ‘pure life.’ It’s used frequently in everyday conversation to say ‘enjoy yourself,’ or something to the affect of ‘life is good,’ or even as we say in English, ‘such is life.’

Charlie house sitting Costa Rica
Charlie house sitting Costa Rica: Lifestyle in Costa Rica

Last Saturday at the Farmer’s market, a stout man holding an avocado asked, “Do you speak Spanish?” I said a little, I was still learning. “Pura vida!” he replied.

How to Live a Pura Vida Lifestyle in Costa Rica

A pura vida lifestyle is about leaving your stresses behind and embracing a simple life. Many foreigners associate this with being down at the beach from sunrise to sunset, living in a bamboo shack and eating mangoes.

Gallo Pinto Costa Rica
Gallo Pinto Costa Rica

For me, my pura vida life is up a little barrio up in the mountains around San Jose. I’m house sitting here, taking care of eight dogs and a cat, watering the plants and getting fresh eggs from my neighbour Ester (whenever she’s ready to bring them). The Costa Rican lifestyle makes it easy to live well for less, especially in comparison to my home country, the UK.

Lane through the barrio - Charlie and Rayo the dog
Lane through the barrio – Charlie and Rayo the dog

Want to know the secrets to living a Pura Vida lifestyle?

Speak with the Locals

Speaking with the locals is a great way to integrate into the Pura Vida mindset. Their laid-back and relaxed ways are sure to rub off on you. Learn a little Spanish – even if it’s just asking for a coffee – and you’ll be surprised how friendly everyone is.

Sunset House Sit CR - Charlie on Travel
Sunset House Sit CR – Charlie on Travel

Eat Local Foods

Cook and eat locally grown food: it’s nutritious and fresh. Gallo pinto is the traditional Costa Rican breakfast which includes rice and beans, scrambled eggs, a tortilla and sometimes avocado or fried banana. Stock up on fresh fruit, vegetables and beans from farmers markets where all the food is grown organically and nothing is artificial or processed; it’s cheaper than the supermarkets too.

View from CR House Sit
View from CR House Sit

Get Into Nature

If you work in a city, get stuck in traffic every day and barely have time to do anything before you fall into bed, it’s easy to forget the world around you. In Costa Rica, the pace of life is slower and the nature here is incredible. My own tiny world expands from sumptuous red flowers in the garden to incredible mountain views all around. Whether you want sit on the beach, explore jungles and volcanoes or just appreciate the view from your veranda, make sure you take the time to enjoy the natural world.

Love What You Already Have

You probably know the phrase: “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” It can be difficult to appreciate what you have in life, especially in a world full of advertising and a ‘grass is always greener’ mentality. Take stock of what you have and you might find that really, you’ve already got everything you need.

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Mañana, Mañana

Most importantly, don’t stress out. Whatever is on your mind probably isn’t the end of the world, and if you’re not feeling it, there’s always tomorrow. I’m not advocating doing nothing, I’m saying take your time to do things, don’t rush around, and enjoy the simple things in life. Pura vida.

CharlieonTravel bio pic 150 x 150Author Bio – Charlie from Charlie on Travel

Charlie is a world traveller, freelance writer and house sitter taking an alternative path across the world.

Her travel blog, Charlie on Travel, is about making green travel achievable with just a few pennies and a good moral compass.

Follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. She is currently beginning her indefinite travel adventure in Central America – starting with Costa Rica!

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