Living in a Blue Zone - Pura Vida
This last fall I was lucky enough to spend 7 weeks in Costa Rica. My children were able to attend a Costa Rican school on the Nicoya Peninsula for 4 of those weeks. Costa Rica has been a major tourist destination for many years, and for good reason. This tiny country is home to an abundance of diverse flora and fauna, not to mention the friendly people. During my time in Nicoya (Montezuma, specifically) I was unable to connect with any local beekeepers as beekeeping is not very common in low lying coastal areas. I did observe a lot of bees in the wild, and my home was host to several colonies of native angustula bees! They are very tiny and hard to photograph, but I got some video of them hovering around the entrance of the hive during the heat of the afternoon. I also saw orchid bees, but they too are difficult to photograph.
The Nicoya Peninsula is a Blue Zone. Before I arrived I had never heard of blue zones. The term “blue zone” grew out of research done by a pair of demographers in the early 2000’s and refers to areas of the world where people live much longer than average. There are currently 5 blue zones: Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Icaria, Greece; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica and (surprisingly) Loma Linda, California. Inhabitants of the blue zone have several common attributes that are said to contribute to their longevity. These are a strong family unit, less smoking, semi-vegetarianism, constant moderate physical activity, social engagement, and legume consumption.
Recent research has called into question the validity of the blue zone research, but my limited experience in the Nicoya Peninsula has taught me to slow down and enjoy life a little bit more. The Costa Ricans have a saying, “Pura Vida” that is used ubiquitously. It’s directly translated as Pure Life, and it describes the way Costa Ricans live. They don’t stress about much, if anything, the way that we do. No worries, no fuss, and no stress, being thankful for what you have and not dwelling on the negative. Maybe that is why they live for so long. So in this new year, my goal is to live a more
Pura Vida life - relax and enjoy!