Pura Vida, or “pure life” is a national credo for the people of Costa Rica. Ticos as they call themselves are a throwback in time to coexistence, utility, and practicality. This country though small, is very powerful in the global community. Costa Rica boasts the technology and the support of its people to be the first country in the world to be completely using sustainable energy to power its cities. Clean energy, replacing the fossil fuel dependency with clean alternatives is a priority. As you may imagine, this is no easy task. A change this big requires buy in from the people, and execution. Here in my part of Costa Rica, you have a respect for the environment and applications where the ordinary Ticos practice what they know to be ecologically sound ideas.
One of my favorite examples right here in Quepos is the collectivo taxistas, those drivers who roam the 3 mile stretch of hilly road that skirts the Pacific shore and connects the town of Quepos with the beach community of Manuel Antonio. If a driver wishes to share their vehicle’s capacity, they offer a ride anywhere along the winding, hilly road for 500 Colones, or the equivalent of 85 cents USD. These collectivos see people standing along the road, and they will honk politely, or flash their lights to let you know “I have room in my car.” Next, imagine sharing a ride with a mother and her children, young people, and sometimes their pets. The driver takes you right to your destination, sometimes a little faster than I’d drive this road, but nonetheless efficiently, and it saves me from having to own and insure a car or worse, a motorcycle for my errands.
This is a very marvelous place, and it’s filled with unimaginable beauty; green landscapes, mountain views, a Pacific stretch of beaches that would place it on the favorite surfing destination for many who enjoy that sport. In my opinion, even more beautiful than the ocean is the spirit that offers needed help to those like me with no transportation, and a need to buy groceries periodically. I sometimes try to imagine this same concept of helping one another in the United States. People stopping along a busy road and offering others, perfect strangers, a ride. There are many other stark differences to the cultures, but this one I find to be one of the most interesting and marvelous. Pura Vida everyone! May you one day come see what ecotourists have known for years. Socialist countries, collective organizations, and a spirit of helpfulness are ideas that do work; Costa Rica proves that to be true.