One Costa Rican Spanish Phrase You Need to Know

Knowing some basic Spanish phrases is definitely helpful when visiting Costa Rica, but knowing this one particular Costa Rican Spanish phrase is a must! If you’ve been here before, you have undoubtedly heard and seen the phrase pura vida. If you are about to visit Costa Rica for the first time, you will likely hear this phrase within minutes of being in the country. Aside from directly translating to pure life, this Costa Rican Spanish phrase is synonymous with everything Costa Rica. 

Pura vida is a Costa Rican Spanish phrase that can act like a greeting, a salutation, a response, a philosophy, and a way of life. 

Pronunciation: POO-rah VEE-dah

Go with the flow

The phrase pura vida actually originated from a Mexican film called Pura Vida that was released in 1956. According to research done by Anna Marie Trester, pura vida “is the expression of the eternal optimism used by a comic character who can’t do anything right. The phrase struck a cord in Costa Rica and has been used ever since.” 

The pura vida way of life is one that can be adopted by anyone and easily learned by spending time in Costa Rica. The important aspects of the traditional Costa Rican way of life include family, community, work, natural food, nature, and an easy breezy, laid-back demeanor. This philosophy is about slowing down and taking the time to enjoy life, whether by spending time with friends and family or doing something you love, like surfing. It’s no wonder that Costa Rica has continually ranked as one of the happiest countries on the planet. Pura vida isn’t about material wealth, it’s about being time-rich. 

You will notice that when pura vida is used the speaker’s face naturally adorns a lighthearted smile. Pura Vida is contagious and something really wonderful and potentially life-changing to catch. Try it out when you are in Costa Rica! Here’s how.

Hello=pura vida

How are you=pura vida

I’m well=pura vida

Yes=pura vida 

Thank you=pura vida

You’re welcome=pura vida

Goodbye=pura vida

See you later=pura vida 

Pura Vida
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