In 1948 The World Health Organization (WHO) originally proposed that, “Health is not the mere absence of diseases but a state of well-being.” The concept of “well-being” is very challenging to define but Pura Vida the wellness and lifestyle concept of Costa Rica is close to describe it.
What makes wellness travel different in Costa Rica is that wellness in more that a travel package, but a way of life. Pura Vida is a Costa Rican colloquial phrase that translates to “pure life,” but means so much more. It’s a lifestyle in which you choose to live to the fullest, while nurturing the mind, body and soul. The phrase “Pura Vida” can be heard echoing throughout Costa Rica — used as a greeting or expression of happiness, it accurately describes the tranquility, wonder and adventure that await visitors. Costa Rica provides an idyllic sanctuary for an energizing getaway, where visitors can enjoy the latest practices in relaxation and personal care, participate in exciting activities set in a lush natural environment and delight on healthy and nourishing gastronomy. According to Expedia’s 2016 Vacation Deprivation Study, Americans leave over 500 million vacation days unused each year. For the few who do take vacation, many admit to obsessively checking emails, responding to requests and getting work down between parasailing and tasting local fare. For the over-worked and under-vacationed, Pura Vida can be the catalyst to finding long-term balance.
Centering your mind is easy in Costa Rica. Travelers in search of peace and tranquility can indulge in being pampered by the country’s natural beauty, nature preserves and spas. Visitors can find holistic wellness in yoga retreats set in rustic open-air studios—surrounded by organic community gardens. Guided meditations — to the sound of waterfalls, help participants practice mindfulness. Those interested in a relaxing massage can find the Native Costa Rican’s, or Tico’s, gift of happiness at any one of the numerous luxury resorts and boutique hotels in the country. As such, Costa Rica is the perfect escape from stressful deadlines and office clutter and a great introduction into the joys and benefits of Pura Vida.
Costa Rica makes it fun to move your body. For those looking to invigorate the body, Costa Rica’s diverse natural landscapes and terrain set the stage for coast-to-coast, action-packed adventures. With a wide range of difficulty levels and destinations, visitors can create the perfect activity for everyone in their group. Costa Rica’s volcanoes, rain forests, cloud forests, beaches and rivers are primed for white-water rafting adventures, fishing, surfing and diving. Surrounded by dense forest vegetation, the beaches offer visitors often unexpected views of exotic wildlife. Visitors looking to replace stress with adrenaline will be especially thrilled at the vast array of experiences, like: taking sky tram tours and hiking along hanging bridges; biking around archaeological sites and zip lining at speeds of up to 55 mph on some of the highest zip-lines in the hemisphere. Hailed as an adventure traveler’s haven, Costa Rica is the ideal playground for millions of thrill-seekers who visit the country annually.
Costa Rican cuisine nourishes the soul. As firm believers of the farm-to-table movement, Costa Ricans are experts at creating delicious meals from fresh, local ingredients grown through sustainable farming methods. The National Plan for Healthy and Sustainable Gastronomy, Costa Rica’s latest effort to promote its competitiveness as a culinary destination, encourages the revival of highly nutritious and tasty traditional dishes such as “gallo pinto.” Nonetheless, Costa Rica’s culinary scene offers more than its staple rice and bean dish. Tropical fruits and an abundance of fresh meat and seafood, from local pastures and the country’s two coasts, provide a delicious variety of culinary offerings to feed the soul. Great inexpensive meals, as well as more upscale dining experiences, are easily found in the throughout the country. Visitors will be charmed by a new generation of chefs providing a modern take on classic dishes.
A 48-hour Pura Vida Itinerary
For travelers looking for a quick getaway a 48-hour Costa Rica itinerary that indulges in the best things a Pura Vida has to offer is a great option.In fact, in as little as two days, visitors can experience the peace and tranquility that is the cornerstone of most lodging options in the Central Valley region, invigorate the body with a visit to Irazú National Park and revel in the culinary delights of the local Tico cuisine.
Day 1: Welcome to the Pura Vida!
2 p.m. – Dive right in
Upon arriving to Juan Santamaria International Airport, check-in to one of the many beautiful hotels offering spectacular amenities, which are available in and around the capital city of San Jose. Options include luxury resorts, cozy boutiques and ecological lodging choices that are designed with sustainability in mind.
Before exploring the town, feed your soul with local fare. Visitors can find authentic, home-cooked style Costa Rican dishes at the Central Market (“Mercado Central”), the oldest and largest market in the city—offering more than 200 shops and stalls, as well as “sodas,” which are inexpensive family-run restaurants.
4 p.m. – A feast for the eyes
After savoring authentic cuisine, a visit to the National Theater (“Teatro Nacional”) is a must. As the architectural jewel of Costa Rica, the theater is one of the country’s most popular attractions. Here, guests can enjoy some of the theater’s weekly performances, as well as admire its exquisite interior and ceiling murals. The National Theater is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
7 p.m. – Hit the scene
Those wanting to explore the city by night will find the capital’s most vibrant bars and popular cafés all within a short taxi ride of one another. Longtime favorites include restaurants and nightclubs that feature live music, impressive craft beer selections and delightful local and international cuisines. A great way to end the night is enjoying a delicious dinner at a beautiful mirador (a restaurant with a view).
Once a month, GAM Cultural hosts Art City Tour, where visitors have free access to museums, galleries and art exhibits throughout the city. GAM also provides a list of the latest cultural events in San Jose. For more information, visit www.gamcultural.com.
Day 2: Play, Pause, Repeat!
8 a.m. – Enjoy the gifts of Mother Nature
Head over to Irazú National Park, which is a short drive from San Jose. Named after the country’s highest volcano, this national park is most popular for its breathtaking panoramic views. On a clear day you can see both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts from the top of the volcano. The Irazú Volcano stands at 3,432 meters above sea level and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10 per person.
10 a.m. – Indulge in some culture
After taking in the captivating sights from the top of Irazú, descend the volcanic heights into the historic city of Cartago. Here visitors can admire the ruins of a 16th century pilgrimage site and the beautifully ornate Basilica of Our Lady of Angels.
1 p.m. – Live life to the fullest
Take in the lush landscapes of Orosi, while zipping down the Reventazon River towards Cachi Lake—a manmade lake that was formed 13,000 years ago. Rafting options vary from scenic to adventurous and cater to all types of difficulty levels.
5 p.m. – Revitalize
After a very active day, treat your limbs to a relaxing massage back in San Jose, where luxury resorts and boutique hotels offer a variety of spa services. Pampering sore muscles is the perfect way to end a dream vacation.
For more information on Costa Rica, visit www.visitcostarica.com
SOURCE Costa Rica Tourism Board