Costa Rica: Pura Vida

Costa Rica is a popular destination for the Geography Department. Professor Hugo Loaiciga was born there (BS, University of Costa Rica, Civil Engineering); Professor Chris Still did research on endangered amphibians there; grad students Ian Irmischer, John Ritterbeck, and Park Williams have lived and worked there; and a surprisingly large proportion of the Department have vacationed there. Inspired by all the rave reviews (and the fact that Costa Rica is one of the only countries in the world without a standing army), your editor, Bill Norrington, recently jumped on the bandwagon and also visited.

To quote Wikipedia: The phrase that embodies the Tico lifestyle is Pura Vida, literally translated as Pure Life, meaning roughly “This is living!” or “Cool!” Friends often greet or salute each other with Pura vida mae (or Pure life, dude, which could be rendered as “This is living, dude!”) Another translation might be something like “distilled life!” suggesting “I am experiencing the best in life”; and since life is about friendship, relaxation, flirting, happiness and good fun, this means you are having a wonderful time.


And we did. My wife Val and I spent nine days in Costa Rica and another three in the Yucatan. It was, indeed, a wonderful, albeit exhausting, time for us old folks. If you’d like to share some of our adventures and pictures, click here for the pdf.

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