Costa Rica Spanish, Pura Vida

Created: 2023.10.19

90% of what you need in 1 minute

Learn Pura Vida if you are coming to Costa Rica!

If you can only learn 2 things in Spanish for travel to Costa Rica they would be:

  • Dónde están los baños (Where are the bathrooms, it is impolite to ask where “the” bathroom, singular, is) Oh, and if you go to Spain, this whole phrase is impolite, in Spain it is asking where the porta potties are.


  • Pura Vida (remember to use the Bee sound for V, ok, so technically it is not QUITE the ‘b’ sound, it is between b and v in English – but much closer to b, and if you use the English b, everyone there will be Pura Vida about it.)

Pura vida translate- ‘literally’ to “Pure Life” but … In Costa Rica, Pura Vida means one or more of the following, as situationally appropriate:

How are you?
Fine; As a response to “Como está” (how are you)
Cool; As in “that sounds great” not as in temperature.
A way of describing a pleasant person “Ese mae es muy pura vida”
It’s Copacetic
To calm oneself after something unfortunate. (Banking takes too long 😉 … you say “Pura vida” to yourself)
If someone says something negative to you: you reply Pura vida with a smile, meaning a polite way of saying “sorry you think that, have a nice day anyway, your criticism didn’t negatively affect me.”
That’s life
No worries
Someone apologizes for something, you reply Pura vida
Be happy

And then take a deep breath, and just accept that things are calmer and slower in Costa Rica than Canada/USA. Pura Vida.

pura vida