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Living the Pursuit of Happiness? Forbes Says: Move to Costa Rica.

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Those of us who’ve already packed our bags and made Costa Rica home already know the answer – Costa Rica is a hell of a great place to live. Happiness, longevity and a healthy lifestyle are part of the game here. Residents live measurably longer lifespans and enjoy a blissfully calm, laid-back pace of life that keeps people grounded, centered and just plan happy the majority of their days.

 

According to a recent article published by Forbes Magazine, Costa Rica once again topped the list of happiest countries in an international poll. As part of a course called, “The Science of Happiness” put out by UC Berkeley, approximately 40,000 students across the globe took a survey reporting happiness levels. The outcome wasn’t surprising – Costa Rica scored high in cross-national happiness measures.

 

As the article explains, Costa Rica may not be the richest country out there when it comes to GDP, but all the research indicates a nation’s well-being and happiness may not be accurately measured using GDP as a standard. Even the US, which has a GDP about 4 times higher than Costa Rica, ranks 16th in the study based on subjective happiness – much lower than the content country of Costa Rica.

 

Costa Rica scored as the number one happiest country, followed by Croatia, Chile, Malaysia and Colombia. According to the study, these countries shared some similarities – primarily, residents felt less loneliness than reported in other nations. So, it turns out that social connection might indeed trump income when it comes to living a happy life.

 

Perhaps that’s no big epiphany for anyone – but you may still be asking why do people in Costa Rica feel less lonely? For our team at Las Mareas, many of us moved to Costa Rica from countries like the US or Canada and we can help try to explain: Costa Rica is a culture of connection. For those who were born here or those who move to settle, all experience the same strong community ties. Surfing, environmentalism and shared interest blossom in intimate beach towns like Tamarindo. The community is united by common interest among residents. Even if you don’t surf, everyone shares a collective love of the country’s beautiful natural landscape. That is a good feeling.

 

Living here, there is less isolation – less suburbia to separate and divide people from one another. The beach is a communal space and in order to survive here, we all must share and respect the land in every aspect of life. Social ties are strong; family is key and expats are accepted with open arms. It’s a welcoming, relaxed and comfortable social space. When you mix that in with the rejuvenating tropical breezes and crisp salty ocean air, you’ve got a recipe for happiness and longevity.

 

Costa Rica has been ranking one of the top “happy” nations for years. Back in 2009, CNN wrote, “Forget Disneyland! Costa Rica is the happiest place in the world.” Their reasoning came from a study that found, “Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world and have the second-highest average life expectancy of the new world.”

 
That study concluded that Costa Ricans’ happiness comes from living in a place where the economy is centered on people and the environment. We couldn’t say it better ourselves. Like we just mentioned, our experience of Costa Rica is all about connections and the natural landscape. At the end of the day, if you’re fascinated by this research, we invite you to come check it out for yourself. The warm people, the spectacular scenery, the mellow vibes… You may just decide to stay forever!