signIn 1948 Costa Rica was the first country in the world to constitutionally ban a standing army. Consequently government money is spent on health care issues and education. The result is a very impressive health care system, a 97% literacy rate, and a stable government.

Ticos, as they affectionately refer to themselves, are happy people. You feel this the minute you step off the plane. You hear the words Pura Vida being bantered about and you quickly come to understand the feeling that lies beneath its literal translation, pure life. Pura Vida is a fine day, a spectacular sunset, a cold beer with a friend, a beautiful way of living!

For those of us secure with a timetable and itinerary Costa Rica can be a bit unsettling. Tranquilo por favor, the culture doesn’t value time in this traditional sense. Rather the Tico way is to allow events to unfold. Perhaps all will go as planned, perhaps not. Regardless the outcome is always “Pura Vida!”