What does the phrase “pura vida” mean?

Pura Vida (POO-rah VEE-dah), used by Costa Ricans since 1956, literally translated means “Pure Life.” Contextually, it means “full of life,” “purified life,” “this is living!” “going great” It is used as a greeting, a farewell, and to express satisfaction.

The phrase has become widely known in the United States and Europe. Some foreigners view the phrase as an expression of a leisurely lifestyle, and a disregard for time. However, Costa Ricans use the phrase to express a philosophy of strong community, perseverance, good spirits, enjoying life slowly and celebrating good fortune, whether small or large.

Pura Vida also means “I am doing alright”, “I am doing perfect” and “thank you”.

Expats who adopt the expression properly get a big smile in return. It is an acknowledgment of the Costa Rican attitude towards life.

The Hawaiian equivalent of Pura Vida is “Aloha!”