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Livin’ the Pura Vida in Montezuma, Costa Rica

Author: Andrea MacEachern
Date of Trip: May 2014

It was the hottest morning in Montezuma, Costa Rica since I’d arrived and the walk down the hill was torture. I was only half way down the hill leading from Anamaya Yoga Retreat to Montezuma Village when a young man on a motorbike stopped. “Senorita, I take you to bottom of the hill if you like.” He was wearing a nice shirt and khaki shorts which gave him an air of coolness and confidence – like he often picked up strange women walking down that hill. I saw no harm and a few minutes later, he dropped me off at the beach.

A storm had passed near Montezuma the previous night and the water was extremely rough. The smell of Cerviche and Empanadas in the restaurant a few meters away filled the air. I found some shade under a tree and the sounds of palm trees rustling in the breeze and waves crashing on shore gently lulled me to sleep.

By late-morning, the heat was getting to me. I was craving a refreshing fruit smoothie, so off I went in search of one. At the end of a street, I noticed an outdoor smoothie bar. A friendly, young man was eager to take on the challenge of making me something that was refreshing but not-too-sweet. It took a while for him to make it as he carefully thought out each ingredient and made sure it was mixed to perfection. He placed his finished masterpiece before me. For the price of 3 dollars, I received a delicious, orange-colored smoothie in a massive glass…and a lesson in life that I would not soon forget.

“So, are you from around here?” I asked him. “Yes, born and raised in Costa Rica.” He said proudly and than asked if I knew what “Pura Vida” meant. To me “Pura Vida” meant The Pure Life. Natural, untouched, simple and pure. He went on to explain it in more depth for me. “That is how most people interpret it. You see, ‘Pura Vida’ can be a greeting, a state of mind, a way of life. You meet someone walking down the street, you say ‘Pura Vida’. You catch the perfect wave while surfing, you say ‘Pura Vida’. You have a wonderful day, instead of saying goodnight, you say ‘Pura Vida’. You find a great smoothie bar while walking the streets of Montezuma, you say ‘Pura Vida’. It can mean anything but always something good. Anytime something good happens, “Pura Vida” is the appropriate thing to say.” Made sense to me. How can you not be living the “Pura Vida” in a country that is considered to be one of the happiest in the world? I feel so lucky to be able to say that I experienced Pura Vida first hand…and have been able to apply to my daily life back home.

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