Costa Rica’s Pura Vida is the life for me.

The last time I was in Costa Rica, I was on a terrible honeymoon with a man I shouldn’t have been married to. Despite that my honeymoon wasn’t the travel experience I wanted it to be (we didn’t spend much time outside of the hotel), I remembered falling in love with the country.

Now that I’ve been back for 24 hours, I remember why: Pura Vida.

Pura Vida is a concept that means many things to the people of Costa Rica. In English, it directly translates to “pure life.” Here, Pura Vida means everything from “enjoy life” to “life is great” to of course, the direct translation, “pure life.” It’s also used as a greeting and a way to check if someone is doing okay.

What Pura Vida means to me, as a foreigner in love with the Costa Rican culture, is a beautiful life. Maybe I’m not qualified to discuss the true meaning of Pura Vida, but one day, I’d love to be able to. Pura Vida means a richness of culture and experience that I think most residents of the States can’t begin to grasp because our worlds are filled with work, money, and material possessions, rather than a pure life.

Pura Vida is not only a way of life, but an outlook on life. So many of the people of Costa Rica I met last time I was here, and in my brief 24 hours already, have shown me what Pura Vida means: it means being happy and grateful for what you have, it means enjoying every moment, and it means living life to the fullest.

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of “cultural fit” – that is, how well you fit in with the culture you were born into. I was lucky enough to be born into two cultures: the Indian culture and the culture of the States.

Less fortunately, however, I never felt like I fit into either one. There are bits and pieces of each of the cultures I’ve worked into my life, but I don’t feel that either culture makes me feel totally happy, comfortable, and at ease.

Not so with Costa Rica’s Pura Vida: if I could go back and choose my birth culture, this would be it.

The emphasis on living life over anything else resonates with me perfectly. The life we live in the States, filled with consumerism and obsession with money, isn’t the life for me. Pura Vida is.

After all, what better way to Live In The Moment Only than with Pura Vida?