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  • Writer's pictureReflective Resources

Costa Rica: The spirit of Pura Vida and behind the scenery

Costa Rica: The spirit of Pura Vida I WIDE (Click to see the video on YouTube)

Costa Rica, nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, is a global biodiversity hotspot and hosts around 5% of the total species estimated worldwide. From active volcanoes and high mountains to green valleys, tropical rainforest and white, grey or black sandy beaches, this film explores all the facets of this cultural and biological treasure trove.

Although the film doesn’t explain the concept of Pura Vida it does give a good indication of the diversity of the life In Costa Rica

Costa Rica has a good life expectancy and pre 2020 Costa Rica was consistently ranking around 12th on the World Happiness Index. The country has a strong welfare system and Costa Ricans have access to free education and a guaranteed state pension. It is the only country in Central America where 100 percent of the population has access to electricity and a source of drinking water and is also one of the few countries in the region that offers universal health coverage following heavy investment, targetting the most readily preventable kinds of death and disability. In the 1970s, the country spent more on health as a proportion of GDP than even some advanced economies, including the United Kingdom. 

The country’s high well-being and good life expectancy is linked to strong social relationships and a sense of community. On a practical basis, people are warm and the pace of life, like the sloth, is slower. It hasn’t been a competitive society where everyone is trying to climb the career ladder. There have worrying (for me) signs of change since 2020 however and in 2022 the ranking had dropped to 23rd. I personally wonder if this is reflected in the increased desire and competitiveness re tourism, and associated building and deforestation etc and indeed I did notice signs saying ‘Please no more building’ whilst on a recent holiday there.

Although there are various eco responsible projects set up, not everyone is adhering to an eco approach with activities being offered such as quad biking and jet skiing and it appears (even from my brief stay) that if something is not done in a few years Costa Rica won’t be the same as it is even now.

Something I noticed and was uncomfortable about but didn’t appreciate the full extent of is the contrast between the rich and the poor in Costa Rica. I came across this article the other day which will give another perspective to this diverse country:


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