Where PURA VIDA is a way of life…. Costa Rica!

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I went to Costa Rica in the summer of 2011. It was a pretty last minute decision to go (I bought my flight a week before I left lol) only because I realized that I had a week off from work the exact week my cousin was going (fate, perhaps? 😉 hah ). I am sooooo glad I went for it though! Costa Rica fascinated me, mostly because of its virgin and untouched rain forests and beautiful natural environment. I had never experienced a country with such a vast array of greenery and wildlife. This may also be because I stayed in the Arenal Area deep in the rain forests, versus the capital city, San Jose. But regardless, Costa Rica is deff. a place for the adventurous . If you love the outdoors, have an appreciation for nature and desire to immerse yourself into a culture where the locals have such an extraordinary passion for living life to the fullest … Costa Rica is for you! 

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Pura vida- is a characteristic Costa Rican phrase. It literally means pure life, however, the real meaning is closer to “plenty of life”, “full of life”, “this is living!”, “going great”, or “real living.”

Pura Vida is basically the Costa Rican signature expression. As defined above, it essentially signifies  the carefree, passionate, vivacious, thoughtful  and explorative way of life of the Costa Rican people.  It has become one of my absolute favorite phrases and really represents  the hospitality of the country’s natives and their overall love of life. In fact, we met quite a few Americans that had dropped everything they had back home  ( many of them, past members of corporate America) and moved to Costa Rica to exchange their stressful, hectic and busy daily routines for a much more relaxed, simple and peaceful lifestyle.

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Here are some pictures taken from Arenal, home of the Arenal Active volcano. Our many adventures included visiting the volcano’s natural hot springs, hiking the volcano, zip lining over 650 feet above the rainforest floor, repelling down waterfalls, a boat tour of the rainforest on the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica and checking out the abundant wildlife !

Leaving our hotel room, this is what we were immersed in! So much natural Beauty!
Leaving our hotel room, this is what we were immersed in! So much natural Beauty!
Check out the HUGE iguanas roaming around our hotel... oh! did I mention, a bat also got into our room?! what the heck! lol!
Check out the HUGE iguanas roaming around our hotel… oh! did I mention, a bat also got into our room?! what the heck! lol!
The Arenal Volcano
The Arenal Volcano
Hiking the volcano
Hiking the volcano
Getting ready to zip-line through the rainforest!
Getting ready to zip-line through the rainforest!

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Heading out!
Hanging by a thread hundreds of feet above the floor! lol!
Hanging by a thread hundreds of feet above the floor! lol!
Sofia strapping up!
Sofia strapping up!
Our zip-line tour guide, Ricky, having some fun!
Our zip-line tour guide, Ricky, having some fun!
My cousin Sofia, her cousin Maritza and myself after zip-lining
My cousin Sofia, her cousin Maritza and myself after zip-lining
Before repelling down waterfalls! This was my favorite activity!
Before repelling down waterfalls! This was my favorite activity!
Sofia heading down the mountain
Sofia heading down the mountain
That's me =)! Check out our guide alllllll the way down the mountain
That’s me =)! Check out our guide alllllll the way down the mountain
making my way down the waterfall
making my way down the waterfall
On the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica
On the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica

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New friends we met that took us out to enjoy Arenal at night
New friends we met that took us out to enjoy Arenal at night
Drinking Cacique! A traditional Costa Rican drink
Drinking Cacique! A traditional Costa Rican drink

The next couple of photos are from Tamarindo… Which is a cute little surf town about 2-3 hours away from Arenal. We ended our trip here, spending a few days relaxing by the beach ❤

Cute artsy alley in Tamarindo
Cute artsy alley in Tamarindo

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Enjoying the beach!
Enjoying the beach!

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Gorgeous sunset
Gorgeous sunset
Learning to surf!
Learning to surf!
This pic is also during our surf sesh.
This pic is also during our surf sesh.
Standing with two friends we met from New York that we hung out with a lot
Standing with two friends we met from New York that we hung out with a lot on the trip
Pura Vidaaaaaaa mannn
Pura Vidaaaaaaa mannn

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It was quite difficult to truly capture the beauty of the Costa Rican Rainforest through my mediocre camera lol. Once in it, though, I was genuinely speechless. The different natural elements of the country are absolutely beautiful and worth checking out at least once in your life. The environment will teach you to have an appreciation for our natural world and really allow you to understand just how much devastation humans have caused to so many of the earth’s ecosystems. Very rarely will you find a country that really takes care of and respects its natural resources… Costa Rica is one of them.

The Arenal volcano as captured from the Tabacon Hot Springs
The Arenal volcano as captured from the Tabacon Hot Springs

In addition, the various outdoor activities they offer will turn you into a true adventure addict. I never considered or thought of myself as a daredevil before I went to Costa Rica. However, I am so glad my cousin, Sofia, pushed me to do the various activities that we did. Taking that leap outside my comfort zone was necessary in order for me to realize that I was much more courageous than I had ever perceived myself to be. In the words of Paulo Coelho, when you travel, “You begin to realize that deep in your unconscious mind, there is someone much more interesting and adventurous and someone much more open to the world,”.  This “identity” is difficult to tap into from a continuous, daily routine and comfortable setting. Travel, therefore, allows you to experiment with the unknown and subsequently grow…And by doing so, one feels liberated and believes much more in their own capabilities to accomplish and do anything they’ve ever desired! 😉


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