Holiday Cheer vs. Costa Rica’s “Pura Vida” Which Feels Better?


This month is touted as “the most wonderful time of the year” as it features holidays from many cultures and people tend to focus more on family, meaningful traditions, happiness, and beauty. Yet how does what many of us call “Holiday Cheer” stack up against another especially good feeling, “Pura Vida” as enjoyed all year by the people of lush, breathtaking Costa Rica?


Pura Vida translates directly as “pure life” however the term has a multitude of subtle meanings for Costa Ricans. People use the term in many ways such as: to say hello, as a response when someone asks you how you’re doing, as a way of reminding themselves that things aren’t really that bad, or, as a way of letting someone off the hook when they’re late for an appointment, among so many others. There are hundreds of reasons to say, “Pura Vida!”


But what does it really mean? The easiest way to understand it is to think of that Bobby McFerrin song, “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” The atmosphere and lifestyle Costa Ricans are cultivating includes a world where the most important things in life are feeling good, enjoying the beauty of the moment, and especially not worrying.


And they must be doing something right as Costa Rica is one of the world’s happiest countries. According to The Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica is the happiest place of all having claimed the top spot in the world for four years in a row. The data for this index was compiled from a combination of sustainability metrics and attitudes. Forbes reports on a different metric, The World Happiness Report, and here Costa Rica ranked #15 in 2020, behind the Scandinavian countries yet still very high. The Costa Rican approach to life that leaves worrying behind in addition to their sustainability practices have put them high on many happiness lists.


Holiday Cheer, on the other hand, doesn’t usually include not worrying. For many of us, the December holidays are some of the most stressful days of the year as we rush around to shop and make the necessary arrangements in order to uphold much loved traditions. Moments of great beauty are more plentiful this time of year (or maybe we just notice them more), so the magic that’s part of Holiday Cheer certainly overlaps with the magic spread across the stunning Costa Rican landscape to produce Pura Vida. Still, Holiday Cheer could take a page from Pura Vida’s playbook by easing off on some of the stress and worry.


If you're looking to let go of some of the more frantic parts of Holiday Cheer, why not plan a trip to Costa Rica for your own experience of Pura Vida? Wild Nectar offers land programs that range from more adventurous to more luxurious including custom trips for just you and your family, tailored to your own version of Pura Vida. We also offer ship expeditions like this one that includes a transit of the Panama Canal via the National Geographic Quest. These trips offer a combination of Pura Vida and engineering fascination as you pass through the canal.


Whether the Monteverde cloud forest, the mangroves and turtles of Tortuguero, or the perfect beaches of Guanacaste are calling to you, we’ll make sure your days in the land of Pura Vida are unforgettable. A trip to Costa Rica would also make the perfect gift for that person in your life who brings so much Holiday Cheer to your world. Contact us at Wild Nectar and we'll help you plan something extraordinary.