What does “Pura vida” mean?

Were you ever in Costa Rica, but didn´t understand what “Pura vida” meant? Or perhaps you’ve heard it in videos promoting tourism in the country? And if you’ve never heard it, then it’s going to come in handy for your next trip to :costa_rica:!

Pura vida is an expression that Costa Ricans use all the time to ask how you’re doing, to thank, to say goodbye, and even to express your frustration and at the same time recognizing that there’s nothing you can do about it, something like “c’est la vie”.

This expression, which literally means “pure life”, is also used to describe the Costa Rican lifestyle which, for many people, is basically cheerful (alegre), optimistic (optimista), and relaxed (relajado); some might even compare it to Hakuna Matata from Lion King.

Here are a few examples so that you won’t be surprised when you hear dialogues like these:

  1. Answering that you’re doing great.
    :woman:t4: ¿Cómo estás?
    :adult:t4:¡Pura vida!

  2. Asking how you’re doing and answering that everything’s great
    :woman:t4: ¡Hola! ¿Pura vida?
    :adult:t4:¡Pura vida!

  3. Saying goodbye.
    :woman:t4: ¡Hasta luego!
    :adult:t4:¡Pura vida! ¡Nos vemos!

  4. Saying you’re welcome
    :woman:t4: Muchas gracias por el regalo.
    :adult:t4:¡Pura vida! Espero que te guste.

  5. Expressing frustration.
    :woman:t4: Me acaban de avisar que se perdieron las maletas.
    :adult:t4:¡Pura vida! ¿Y ahora qué hacemos?

Here’s a funny picture that tries to sum everything up:

¿Alguna vez has escuchado esta expresión? ¿Conoces alguna expresión o palabra similar en otros idiomas?


Wow, I love “Pura vida” :heart_eyes:! Honestly, I’ve never heard about such an expression with so many meanings/uses in any language. It feels to me like a smile put in words :blush:!
Thanks for sharing that, @wilmer_arias!


Here in Ecuador, we don’t use this expression. But I can start to use it :wink:


¡Pura vida! :blush: I remember when I was moving to Costa Rica, I learned about this phrase, but I didn’t think it was actually used as often as it is. Costa Ricans really do use it all the time. :grin: So this post is 100% accurate and helpful. I miss the casados and guanabana juice. :drooling_face:


El fresco de guanabana es riquísimo :drooling_face:


This is a lovely expression :raised_hands:. It brings positive vibes to any conversation, I’m sure. Thank you for sharing with us about your country :star_struck: @wilmer_arias!

Lastimosamente no conozco una expresión como esta en otros idiomas, pero lo pensaré quizás encuentre una después :relaxed:.