“Pura Vida”- a Pure Life

We are staying about 1hr and 20min drive on an unpaved and a dusty road from the city Liberia. So we had been limited by the choice of activity offered by the hotel. Luckily we befriended an employee of the hotel and he happened to have a day off and his friend had a car.  On the side he also has a tour company, which he is trying to get off the ground. We asked him to plan activities for the day Costa Rican style. Only guidance we give him was we wanted to eat authentic Costa Rican food and we wanted to go on a river to see the animal. Apparently you are more likely to see animals on the river than in the national park.

We arranged to meet him at 8 am in the lobby of the hotel. Having lived in England and Canada all my life I have been brain washed to be prompt. Some of my friends would argue about me being prompt but as it happens we were prompt and we were waiting for him patiently. Eight o’clock came and went. We started to get little anxious because we didn’t have any back up plan to do anything else if he didn’t show up.

My brother went to look for him in the car park and within few minutes of my brother going to look for him the guide had turned up with his friend. His friend was going to be the driver and he was going to be our guide although he didn’t speak very good English. He was a likeable person never the less; he giggled and smiled a lot. It was almost nine o’clock when we left for the tour.  We enjoyed the dusty and bumpy ride to the city and later to the river. When we arrived from Canada it was late at night so we hadn’t see the countryside. So it was nice to see what we had missed; there were lots of small farms, children going to school, horses and cows grazing on the side of the road. No one seemed to be in a hurry to go anywhere. I noticed this in other hot countries, no one rushes, life just happens.

The most commonly used phrase in Costa RicaPura vida” literally means “Pure life”, but the saying goes beyond its simple translation: it’s a way of life. Contextually, then, it symbolizes the idea of simply enjoying life and being happy. As the Urban Dictionary states, it’s a synonym of “hakuna matata” and reflects the relaxed lifestyle of Costa Ricans; they say “Pura vida” for example, if they missed their bus to work, without becoming “anal” about it. I thought this is a very good phrase for improving the general mood of the country. They accept in their culture that shit happens and it’s no point getting upset about. Everyone seems to enjoy saying “ Pura Vida”, followed by a big smile.

On the way they stopped the car went into a small village shop and came back with bottle of water, can of beer, lemon flavored peanuts and a banana each. It was too early for the beer but we enjoyed the cold water and the banana. The lemon-flavored peanuts were specially made for me because I love the lemon flavor.  They were great with the beer later in the afternoon. After nearly two hours on the road we arrived at our destination. Lots of vehicles were parked there; a sure sign of a tourist spot. And it was.

We had arrived at a river, lots of boats, people being guided on the boat one at a time from a platform. Everyone seemed to know our guide and he easily got us on one of the boat. Within few minutes of leaving the platform we saw monkeys, iguanas, crocodiles, birds of all kind. But again – no snakes or spiders. Here are some photographs of the wild life on the river.


I was thinking after we had done the tour, that how lucky we are in Edmonton to be able to go for a walk by the river without fear of crocodiles!

Nova arranged for us to go to a traditional Costa Rican Restaurant. The food was delicious. Here is what we had.

On the way back our guide decide to treat us with green mangos and sugar cane. Of course it wasn’t his mango tree, I just hoped it was on a crown land. The sugar cane was certainly not on his land, it belonged to some big sugar plantation. I didn’t think they would miss one sugar cane. Beside our guide looked so pleased with himself I didn’t have heart to tell him not to get into trouble for steeling!!

The sugar cane reminded me of my childhood because I remember chewing on them in India when I was a little kid. The green mango he said taste great with salt and chilly pepper. But I discovered they taste even better with one of the local sauce call “Lizano”

Pura Vida for now. See you soon.

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