Costa Rica’s Blue Zone | The Secrets To Happiness and Healthy Living
People just seem to be healthy, happier, and enjoy life more in Costa Rica. Why is that? You hear more laughter here than anywhere. Since the 1990s Costa Rica has been my happy place. Today I try to explain why.
1. Everyone is here because they want to be here
In general the only expats living in Costa Rica are ones who have chosen to be here. No-one is here because of work commitments, or family obligations. They are here because they want to be here. The overwhelming feeling is of good energy, contentment. HAPPINESS.
2. What is a Blue Zone?
In 2004 Dan Buettner from National geographic identified 5 ‘blue zones’ around the world where people lived to a ripe old age, had lower levels of obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. He examined diet, lifestyle, exercise and other factors to determine the reasons.
3. Nicoya Peninsula, Blue Zone
The Nicoya peninsula is an 80 mile long stretch of Costa Rica coastline encompassing Tamarindo, Nosara,
Montezuma and Coco. Here, 1 in 250 people live to 100 years old, compared to 1 in 4000 in North America. More importantly, the older generation seem to live without medications and ailments
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4. Sunshine, sunshine sunshine
Weather is a very important factor. Living just 10 degrees North of the equator Costa Rica has a very pleasant sunny and hot year round climate. This is an important factor in outdoor healthy living. Coming from England I know how dreary weather brings your spirits down. Amazing sunsets every evening just fill you with good energy.
You don't see many obese people in Costa Rica. The Costa Rica diet is very simple, food is made from fresh ingredients, and less meat is consumed. There is little to no processed food. Fresh fruits are cheap and plentiful. Roadside vendors are everywhere with the freshest fruit. If you see one, stop and try it. People enjoy fresh juices- Tamarindo, Chan, Payapaya , pineapple, Guanabana, starfruit. Again most juices are made from fresh fruits, not processed, long life or from concentrate . Water can be drunk from the tap, and has higher levels of calcium and magnesium so you have built in vitamins and minerals. Have you tried gallo pinto and eggs for breakfast? Maybe rice and beans in the morning wasn't on your wishlist, but it really is the breakfast of champions.
6. Exercise and sports
Whatever your lifestyle at home, in Costa Rica people seem to exercise more. Even if it is just a walk on the beach, tennis, yoga, surfing, sailing, golf. We spend more time in beach clothes, so we are motivated to stay more in shape. There are so many things to do right on your doorstep. This morning I played golf, had a gallo pinto in a soda (modest local restaurant) and was still in my office by 9am.
7. No pollution
Here at the beach there is almost no pollution. No factories, few cars on the roads, no traffic jams. Fresh ocean breezes.
8. Faith and family
Another aspect identified in the blue zone was the importance of faith and the family. Older Costa Ricans are looked after by family, not put into homes. In Tamarindo alone there are half a dozen churches. Being surrounded by love and people that care for you adds to that quality of life. Translated to our expat lives, if you live in Costa Rica be assured that your family and friends will visit at every opportunity
9. Enjoy the little things
Some of my friends that have a rock star lifestyle in some of the best hotels in the world stayed in Black Stallion in Tamarindo in a modest tree house, with monkeys in the trees, and had the best time ever. You don't need an ostentatious lifestyle. Live happy for less.
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