Welcome to Costa Rica, the land of peace and ecotourism. The intent of this column is to take you with me on the adventures and cultural perspectives on my study abroad. From the depths of daily life to the frontlines of the conservation movement, I hope to translate everything I learn back to you through writing and photography. Up first is a little background about what makes this country special and the principle of Pura Vida.
Costa Rica was the first country ever to abolish its military and it has been this way since 1949. On the conservation side of things, more than 25 percent of the land is protected. It is one of the most biodiverse locations in the world with 4.5 percent of all known species on the planet, which is significant as it only covers 0.03 percent of the earth’s surface.
The people of Costa Rica do not referrer to themselves as Costa Ricans, instead they call themselves ticos(men) and ticas(women).
Pura Vida is the country motto and this way of life is very unique. Basically, it translates to “pure life” or “this is living,” but the expression is used as a greeting, farewell, “thank you,” “your welcome,” and, from my experience so far, just about anything else. If it’s a beautiful day ticos say “Pura Vida,” if the weather is miserable, “Pura Vida,” if someone steals your car, “Pura Vida;” life goes on.
This portion of my blog will be daily from here on out, which means my photos may not be the best. But they will improve with time and cultural immersion and I hope I can give you a true perspective of life here.