Costa Rica is a beautiful country in Central America with friendly, happy people that made our holiday to celebrate my Mom’s 80th a trip to remember. The experiences we had seeing monkeys in the wild, iguanas, crocodiles and numerous others species of birds and reptiles was unique for a prairie girl from Canada. Exploring beautiful sand beaches, a sea cave and the pure beauty of the rain forest and natural waterfalls were awe-inspiring.
When I have the opportunity to travel, I love to pay attention to the local culture, meet local people and learn from their lifestyle and what they do that creates health and happiness. While I was there I learned so many things that I can take home with me and share on my journey with the Happy Monkey Club. As much as I wish I could pack up the beautiful warm air and bring it home, I will stick with the other treasures I know will stay with me that continue to reinforce my 5 pillars of happiness.
The food in Costa Rica was outstanding, fresh, local and so tasty. The farms are small, the animals free range, the fruit picked from the trees, fresh from the fields and sold on the side of road. Yummy. Eating whole food is the way we were meant to eat and the flavor is amazing. The other interesting thing is that anything imported had a 100% tax on it, so all the processed foods from North America were ridiculously expensive. We certainly have our challenges living in the great white north, however, focusing on a whole food diet will do wonders for the way you feel daily.
There is a positive energy around the people of Costa Rica that you can feel. “Anything is possible,” my new friend Jose told me, “we don’t believe in the word no, there is always a way.” What a wonderful outlook on life, to work together within the needs of the people to provide what is needed. Everyone had a friendly disposition and tried very hard to help you even if there was a language barrier. Best two weeks of charades ever with lots of smiles!
The lifestyle is simple and active, walking, hiking, playing in the ocean, riding bikes is all a way of life in Costa Rica as very few own vehicles. We get so reliant on our vehicles that sometimes we drive when we could easily walk at home; I’m going to try to change that up.
Work is a necessity of course but the priority is still family time. Getting to the beach for the late afternoon or spending time visiting on the porch seemed to be replaced by the crazy hamster wheel we have created. One guy we talked to who was working on commission said, “I have made enough for today, I need to get home to take my kids to the beach.” When was the last time you heard that? Sometimes we focus far too much on earning more money and not on focusing on the moments. One of the sayings in Costa Rica is to collect moments, not things, how profound.
Having fun goes without saying as Costa Rica is one of the happiest places on earth and they also boast one of the blue zones in the world where there are more Centurions per capita than anywhere else. With the attitude, healthy lifestyle and very little stress that all makes sense.
Pura Vida which directly translates to “Pure Life” is the tag line of Costa Rica and now I know why. I know I have brought back with me a little of that mindset and will definitely be back to explore more of its beauty and engage with the positive spirit of the Ticos. Stay tuned for a HMC retreat to this wonderful country…