Costa Rica has, for many years now, been referred to as the "Happiest country on the planet." Whenever we tell people that, they always seems to ask the obvious questions: "Why?" and "Do you believe that's true?"
Our own answer is easily summarized based on what anyone can see and feel on a trip to this beautiful country, and it is not false, so yes, we believe that it's true for the following reasons and more:
1) The friendliness of the people of Costa Rica, who live by the phrase "Pura Vida" (pura life) which is equivalent to Hawaii's "Aloha" and then some!
2) The diversity (loaded): cultural, racial, ecological, biological...the list goes on. When you have a constant mixture of cultures (from historic conquistadores and the indigenous tribes, to current visiting tourists, expats who choose to call this place home, and, most importantly, the locals), you get a much more balanced society where how you look is celebrated, the natural beauty is celebrated and protected, the flora and fauna aren't the only things that flourish!
3) No military. That's right. Costa Rica abolished its military in 1949, instead choosing to spend funds on healthcare and education.
4) Blue Zone. Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula is one of five places on the planet known to have one of the highest concentrations of long-lived elderly in the whole world. You'll notice during your visit that people of all ages spend time together, and that people maintain active, healthy, lifestyles far into their older years!
5) The Ocean. We're ocean people (obviously), but studies from around the world name closeness to water, time and time again, as a source of tranquility and peace, a stress and anxiety-reducer, and a healing power. With the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east, Costa Rica has no shortage of water, and the name translates to Rich Coast because of the thousands of miles of beautiful coastline on both sides of this small country (roughly 80% of the size of West Virginia).
If you want the OFFICIAL answer on why Costa Rica is the happiest, though, you'll have to go to The Index. That's right; It sounds crazy, but there are actually in depth studies done that combine factors like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), ecological footprint, life expectancy, well-being, inequality, and population to determine a "Happiness Index!"
You can check out what makes Costa Rica, number one, happiest nation in the world, time and time again at the Happy Planet Index, which is broken down into their major factors and where Costa Rica ranks in each of those factors individually.
If that's not enough to quench your thirst for happiness knowledge, simply Google search "Costa Rica happiness" to see pages of articles on how and why Costa Rica is amongst the happiest nations in the world and often ranked number one, no matter the standards used by the different Happiness researchers.
Where does YOUR home country fall on the index? No matter where it lands, we hope you'll get a chance to come see the happiness in Costa Rica and drink from its cup!
Stay Happy! Pura Vida!
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