• Todd Hilton

The Tico People and The Pura Vida Lifestyle


Damon and I recently challenged ourselves with the notion of a life where we could live more simply and affordably. We had come to realize that the ongoing race to keep up with the Jones’s was not only tiring, but also never ending. The daily grind of commuting to and from work, and the hours spent working in a cubicle everyday to help make someone else's life more comfortable and successful had reached it’s boiling point. We chose to attended an International Living conference in Las Vegas, and after a weekend of listening to the many successful stories of the speakers, we made the choice to sell everything we owned, (and I do mean EVERYTHING). Gone was the house, the cars, the all the “stuff”. Once freed from all our material possessions we set out for a life abroad to see if we could find a more peaceful, relaxing, and enjoyable way of life. Would we be able to live on a budget of $1500.00 a month comfortably? We decided our adventure would start in the town of Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica, and see if it would be able to give us the relaxed way of life we were so desperately looking for, and all at a budget that we could afford? Here’s what we’ve come to find out after three months of living here.


Wikipedia describes a Tico as the following:
"Tico is a colloquial term for a native of Costa Rica. Costa Ricans are usually called ticos by themselves and persons of other Spanish-speaking countries."

Ticos are a proud and very hard working people. And we've come to realize that the Tico people are truly some of the warmest and kindest people you'll meet. Everyone will greet you with a smile followed by a friendly Hola! And if you are struggling speaking Spanish (as I have been), they will do their best to communicate with you. That’s been great!


Then there's the attitude here in Costa Rica that the Ticos call Pura Vida. What is Pura Vida exactly? The term Pura Vida! (Pronounced POO-rah VEE-da), translates to mean "Pure Life". However, these two words have much more meaning throughout the Costa Rican culture. Pura Vida means that no matter what your current situation is, life for someone else can always be less fortunate than your own. So you need to consider that maybe...just maybe, your situation isn't all that bad and that no matter how little or how much you have in life, we are all here together and life is short...so start living it "Pura Vida style".


Of course, Ticos live similar lives that we did back in the States. They get ready for work, they drive in traffic, they deal with their work loads. But they do all this with an attitude that life is exactly what it is in that moment. They aren't worried about what lays ahead, and they certainly aren't dealing with something that's already behind them. We learned quickly that the stresses in life back home weren’t something that existed here. The pace was immediately slowed down to an easier one. And boy were we ready for it!


Of course, Ticos live similar lives that we did back in the States. They get ready for work, they drive in traffic, they deal with their work loads. But they do all this with an attitude that life is exactly what it is in that moment.

Our daily schedule so far is a simple one. We generally wake up about 8am. We like to sit outside and have a moment of mediation and prepare for the day. From there we enjoy our breakfast of eggs and bacon, or sometimes banana pancakes. Afterwards we read the latest news reports to one another of what’s happening back home. It’s then we remind ourselves that we made the right choice. We go for a hike or visit one of the many natural attractions that are here in Costa Rica. We generally have a lunch at some of the many small hole-in-the-wall where we find the most delicious Costa Rican food. From there we’ll usually spend the afternoons at home to either write on our blog or take a nap from the days activities. We spend the evening with friends over a dinner, or enjoy each other's company while reading. We generally are off to bed by 11pm and get the most relaxing sleep listening to the jungle noises outside our window.



We have passed our third month of successfully living under the budgeted $1500.00 a month, thus allowing us to add more money to our ever-growing savings account. This, my friends, is what Pura Vida is all about. Life's pretty short. Take the time to breath more, laugh more, relax more, and most importantly TRAVEL more. It's a big world out there and it's arms are opened wide waiting to share it's abundant gifts with you. So in the Costa Rican way of life we wish you and yours Pura Vida!


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