Pura Vida: Costa Rica’s Secret for Longer, Happier Lives

Where to go in Costa Rica

Discover Blue Zone Costa Rica’s “Pura Vida for All” wellness secrets for a happier, healthier, and longer life. 

Costa Rica is a lush eco-paradise teeming with rainforests, abundant wildlife, and a deep tradition of community. According to BlueZones.com, Nicoya, an 80-mile peninsula just south of the Nicaraguan border, has a life expectancy “higher than many developed countries; while spending 15 percent of what Americans spend on health care”.

So, what do Costa Ricans know about health, happiness, and longevity that we don’t?

Kelli Ricco, Wellness and Fitness Coordinator at the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, was determined to find out why so many Nicoyans live well over a hundred years. And what makes this region one of the “happiest on earth?” After diving into the culture and starting a family in Costa Rica, Ricco cracked the Blue Zone code and incorporated its health principles into her wellness program for guests to experience in a meaningful way.

Four Season's Wellness Program in Costa Rica

Ricco developed “Pura Vida for All,” the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica’s wellness program that introduces the principles of Nicoya’s Blue Zone secrets to living happier, healthier and longer. In Costa Rica pura vida (pure life) is more than just a phrase. It’s a philosophy and a plan de vida, (reason to live) with distinct key aspects that Americans with our busy lives often overlook.

Here are the Four Pillars of the ‘Pura Vida for All’ Wellness Program.

#1 Nutrition & Local Natural Remedies

Wellness Cuisine in Costa Rica

Cooking classes teach guests about native Costa Rican herbs and superfoods known amongst Nicoyans for their healing properties. All locally sourced, these superfoods can help to strengthen the immune system and improve daily energy. Try delicious recipes with guanbana (soursop), raw cacao, and fresh-from-the-tree coconut water with lime. Bluezones.com further explains how diet is linked to longevity, “Nicoyans eat little to no processed foods but plenty of antioxidant-rich tropical fruit.”

#2 Volunteerism

Philanthropy Program at Four Seasons Costa Rica

A strong sense of community is key for Blue Zone centenarians in Nicoya. Exactly why Ricco gave volunteerism such a strong emphasis in her resort wellness program. Partnering with Crescendo Juntos and Growing Together, the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica has long embraced the concept of supporting their local community. Guests are encouraged to be a “Backpack Buddy” and bring school supplies for local children. You can paint a school, teach a class or even “adopt” a family for a week. The resort supports different types of partnerships, so you can volunteer where you feel drawn to – whether it be a school or a family – to offer a truly heartfelt experience where guests feel they received more than they gave. Prepare for your heart to melt. Costa Rican students love to greet guests with a charming traditional dance.

#3 Holistic Full-body Rebalancing

Where to go in Costa Rica

At the spa, each guest in the Pura Vida for All wellness program experiences a re-balancing energy treatment where native pure-toned gems (clear quartz, amethyst, lapis lazuli, citrine, rose quartz, bloodstone, and onyx) realign your chakras. The 90-minute treatment is blended with a hot stone massage for a renewal of energy. Guests have reported the disappearance of long-term pain after treatments.

#4 Movement in Nature

Where to go in Costa Rica

Another Pura Vida for All pillar to happiness and longevity? Get moving! Not just from intense workouts at the gym but from being active in nature. Cnn.com discusses how every day in Nicoya, 105-year-old Jose Guevara wakes up at 6 am to feed his farm animals. Movement is a way of life in Costa Rica; from tending farms and riding horses to salsa dancing and walking to a friend’s house. This inspired Ricco to add nature-influenced activities to her wellness program. With two beaches to choose from on the tip of the Papagayo peninsula, it wasn’t hard to do. Guests can try the Pura Vista Climb Stairway through the rainforest teeming with life to secluded beach coves, kayak with a guide to nearby Monkey island, try SUP in placid bay waters, or choose from a myriad of other activities that puts guests (responsibly) in direct contact with Costa Rica’s lush eco-system.

In the spirit of Costa Rica’s eco-responsibility, you can feel better about flying there as well. Alaska Air, known as the most environmentally friendly airline, recently introduced direct flights to Libera and San Jose.

The golden thread weaving its way through Nicoya’s Blue Zone to Ricco’s Pura Vida for All wellness program at the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica is the unique attitude of no stress. It’s a tangible sense of happiness you can feel that Ricco hopes every guest takes home with them. Along with a renewed sense of vitality and healthy habits inspired by Costa Rica’s vibrant Blue Zone of Nicoya.

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Donna Sozio

Author, journalist and publishing consultant, Donna Sozio has been featured in 200+ media outlets including the Tyra Banks Show, Early Show, Fox News, Good Day LA, Seventeen Magazine, Yahoo! Personals, Match.com, Lavalife.com, EcoSalon.com, OrganicAuthority.com and many more. Her books The Man Whisperer (Adams Media) and Never Trust a Man in Alligator Loafers (Kensington) were Amazon.com bestsellers, had TV/Film options and were translated into German, Portuguese and Czech.