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Pura Vida or La Vida Loca?

Which are we Living Here and What’s the Difference?

Pura Vida is a uniquely Costa Rican expression. Literally translated, it's, "the pure life". Doesn't really sound like us but, at our age, perhaps more apt than, "la vida loca" - the crazy life.

Actually, the expression, Pura Vida, has taken on many meanings: This is life, Life is good, Enjoy life, Take it easy, and even, Hello or Goodbye.

A recent observation we heard is that the expression is often over used by expats in Costa Rica who intend it as a negative: "What do you expect? This is Costa Rica!" or worse, "Whatever!"

I will be cautious not to fall into that habit. Still, I like the expression and choose to interpret it as, "This is my life and it is good".

Our Social Life

One aspect of our life in Costa Rica that has been both easy and good has been the social scene. With very little effort on our part and, although we've been here only two weeks, we have met many local expats, established friendships, and been invited to events that exhibit "the good life" - with plenty of camaraderie, food, drink, y buena musica.

It all started on our first day here. Our friends from Ontario invited us to their home and we ended up at a band rehearsal, next door at the neighbor's house. The band members, all local expats, were practicing for a Valentines event to be held at a local restaurant this weekend.

Band practice

Boo Boo and the Bandaids - a great sound!

Band practice

And a wonderful group of people!

Band practice

The lead singer, Melissa, showing off one of several pets

Band practice

My new friend, Kiwi, is an import,too. From Brazil.

Birthday party

We were invited to a multi- birthday party. Many thanks to our wonderful hosts!

Birthday party

. Amazing food!

Birthday party

It's not a birthday without a pinata!


Feria - the twice-a-month , local, outdoor market...

Feria another regular social event and meeting place.

Gringo night

Every Wednesday is Gringo night at Puerto San Luis Resort.The Superbowl Party was fun here too.

Gringo night

Great food, a free boca (small appetizer) with every drink.

How Do We Hear About These Events?

Of course, in our case we already had freinds eager to fill us in. Even if we did not, we could learn a lot from the Lake Arenal Community Page on Facebook.

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook but this is one area where I think the site really shines. Back home in Ontario, I subscribe to our local community page and I was excited to discover there is one here as well. I'm not posting a link because this is a closed group; members need to be approved and should be living in or moving to the Lake Arenal area. These community pages are a great resource whether you're looking for local advice, ways to volunteer, want to give away an item, or join the "social scene”. You can look for a group wherever you live or travel; they're the modern-day, constantly-updated, version of a local bulletin board or water cooler. If there is not a facebook community page for the area where you live, why not start one?

This Week's Shout Out

We've met many wonderful people in the past two weeks. In this post, I especially want to recognize Carolynn, Walter, and Gregory Sokil, whose warm friendship and hospitality exemplifies the goal they state on their inspirational web site, Loud Smiles International: " ultimately create a flow of smiles around the globe". They certainly put smiles on our faces this week by inviting us along onone of the most amazing adventures of the trip so far. (More about that in my next post).

Loud Smiles

Walter, Gregory, Carolynn - smiling loudly!


We thank the Sokils and others in this community, who have taken my chosen definition of pura vida just one step further: "This is my life and it is good. Now let me share it with you!"

Expenses to date: (for the two of us and converted to US dollars):

  • Airfare: $1020.
  • Ground transportation: $153.00
  • Medical Travel Insurance : $165.25 ($2.66 per day)
  • 2-month vacation rental: $1200. ($19.35 per day)
  • Cell/data plan: $22.00 (one month)
  • Entertainment/Restaurants: $67.56
  • Food (groceries): $132.44
  • Other household items: 5.50

Total: $2765.75

Posted on day 15 of our 62-day trip. (Jan 27 to Mar 28, 2016)

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