Pura Vida in Costa Rica

I recently returned from one of my favorite places in all the world. The morning of January 2nd, 2015 was a last minute, spontaneous whirlwind moment of buying tickets and packing my backpack all in effort to visit a place in the land of “Pura Vida”, where I left a piece of my heart 3 years ago. Nosara, is a serene, unspoiled corner of Costa Rica, where you’ll find monkeys hanging in the trees, and sea turtles on the sea shore. Famous for its surf and yoga, the atmosphere of Nosara makes it easy to leave your worries behind you. Soon you find yourself completely submerged in the present moment, which manifests a deep and wonderful feeling of happiness and pure contentment, of “Pura Vida”.

Part of what makes this little tropical surf heaven so lovely is the lack of industrialism and it’s dedication to preserving the natural environment. There are no lights, and no building within 200 meters of the beach. This is to preserve and protect the ritual of the sea turtles migration and nesting. It was to my surprise on a pre-surf beach run one morning, that I stumbled upon about 40 baby sea turtles making their way to the ocean. They were the most incredibly cute little creatures I have ever seen! Witnessing their vulnerability and observing their struggle first hand definitely reignited my passion for protecting our oceans and all the beautiful creatures that call it home.  

The main beach in Nosara, is called Playa Guiones, and it’s endless, expansive shores and consistent beach break is where I spent the majority of my time. I’d typically start my day with either an early morning surf, run, or hike. The beach is so large that I could run for 30min without seeing another person. The lineup was rarely crowded, and the surf consistent. Not to mention the water is a comfortable 83 degrees, reassuring your mind and body you could surf all day if you wanted to. Aside from the surf, my favorite thing about Play Guiones is its hypnotic sunsets. At the end of every day, locals and visitors alike migrate to the beach to watch the breath taking sinking of the sun, into the endless horizon. It’s a beautiful thing as the shops close their doors, people stop what they are doing, and they simply come to sit on the shore and watch the sun go down. There is an overall feeling of peace and gratitude for the gift of another day, the gift of good surf, and the gift of being alive to experience all of the world’s beauty. 

It’s not just the land and the ocean that create a relaxing and simplistic atmosphere in Costa Rica. It is also the beautiful people who originate from this 3rd world country, the Ticos, and their “pura vida” lifestyle. “Pura vida” translates to “pure life”, and it is the law of the land in Costa Rica. The expression is used in many forms, from a greeting, to a synonym for “excellent”. Similar to “hakuna matata,” it’s a worry free philosophy which basically means, life is wonderful, enjoy it; Go slow, savor, and be present in every minute. Ticos follow this lifestyle and are some of the happiest, longest living people on earth. They are wealthy when it comes to love for life, family, and nature. Though when it comes to possessions and dollars, they may not have much. That’s the beauty of it. I am a firm believer in what’s simple is true, and that the greatest things in life, money can’t buy. Ticos live large on very little. Take a trip to Costa Rica and you will be reminded of the line that separates the difference between wants and needs. You need very few material things to thrive, and what you find in nature and in the goodwill of good people is much more satiating. Costa Rica is plentiful of those two things, good people and nature’s bounty. “Pura vida” is very similar to the life perspective I’ve been able to develop growing up on my island home. For that reason, Nosara, like Catalina, holds a piece of my heart always.

I am thankful for the opportunity to visit such a sacred, beautiful place. For those of you yet to experience it, please go if you get the chance. And for those of you who have been, I am sure you can agree with all that I have said. Whether you want to simply surf, need to do some soul searching, or want to give back by volunteering with the Costa Rican wildlife, a trip to Nosara may be just what you’ve been looking for.

Pura Vida.