Simple, stunning pleasures found in Costa Rica

By Laura Adrian

It was a joy to embark on a journey to the breathtaking landscapes of Costa Rica in January 2024, a land where the motto “Pura Vida” isn’t just a saying but a way of life.

Translated this phrase means “simple life” or “pure life.” It imbued my vacation experiences.

During my stay, I had the opportunity to explore the Pacific Coast, where I was greeted by lush rainforests, stunning beaches and an abundance of wildlife. Each day, I embarked on excursions to various national parks, each a treasure trove of natural wonders.

One vacation highlight was a guided rainforest animal tour led by the knowledgeable Juan Carlos. As we ventured deep into the heart of the rainforest, I was mesmerized by sightings of three-toed sloths, a venomous snake, a majestic boa constrictor, tapirs and colorful tree frogs.

Juan Carlos’s passion for wildlife conservation was evident as he shared insights about the importance of protecting Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity.

Costa Rica’s commitment to conservation was palpable throughout my journey. Approximately 28% of the country’s land is protected as national parks, reserves and wildlife refuges. This is a testament to the government’s dedication to preserving its natural heritage.

It’s no surprise that tourism, fueled by the country’s stunning landscapes and diverse ecosystems, is Costa Rica’s primary source of revenue.

From zip-lining through the canopy to swimming in cascading waterfalls, Costa Rica offers a plethora of exhilarating activities for adventure enthusiasts. Yet, amidst the adrenaline-fueled adventures, there’s a sense of tranquility and harmony with nature that permeates every experience.

As I immersed myself in the local culture, I couldn’t help but inquire about the impact of tourism on the community.

“We like it. Tourism means jobs,” said my cab driver, David, echoing the sentiments of many Costa Ricans who rely on the industry for their livelihoods.

It wasn’t just the breathtaking landscapes that left a lasting impression on me; it was the warmth and kindness of the Costa Rican people. Interactions with locals reminded me of the essence of “Pura Vida”—a celebration of the goodness of life and a reminder to embrace every moment with gratitude and joy.    

Reflecting on my journey, I can’t quite articulate how, but I know this trip to Costa Rica has left an indelible mark on my soul. It’s a place where nature’s beauty intertwines with the spirit of its people, leaving visitors like myself forever changed by the magic of the “Pura Vida” lifestyle.

It is my fervent hope to lead a retreat here one day, sharing the magic of “Pura Vida”. 

Photo cutline: The beauty of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast is captured by Laura Adrian, who earlier this year visited the country. In the upper middle photo is a photo of a tree frog. Photos Laura Adrian.

Laura Adrian, who lives in St. Anthony Park, is the social media specialist for the Park Bugle and runs a retreat business.

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