It isn't a secret that Costa Ricans are known for being happy and healthy. Year after year, Costa Rica is consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world and its very easy to see why.
The Nicoya Peninsula, located in the northern region of the country, far exceeds even Costa Rica's happy and health standards. Known as a "Blue Zone", the Nicoya Peninsula is one of the 5 recognized zones throughout the world where people live almost twice as long as the average person. These geographical areas known as Blue Zones were first coined in 2005 as researchers began looking into why these geographical areas have such a high concentration of centennials.
Nicoya Peninsula Blue Zone
The Costa Rica Blue Zone is located on the 80 mile long peninsula just south of the Nicaragua border. This beautiful area is lined with pristine, white beaches, lush rainforest and a local attitude called "plan de vida" or reason to live. The elder "Nicoyans" have a strong sense of purpose and keep a positive outlook as they age.
They keep an active, healthy lifestyle and spend quality time with family. The centennials visit often with family and friends and most live with family as they grow older which allows them to maintain close relationships.
Locals in the Nicoya Blue Zone have access to some of the most nutritional foods in the world. The water in this area has the highest calcium content in Costa Rica and helps keep heart disease rates down and creates stronger bones. In addition, the Nicoyans eat their biggest meal early in the day and only eat a light dinner. This keeps them from eating too many calories which aids in increasing life span.
Nicoyans eat little to no processed foods and they have access to some of the most antioxidant-rich, tropical fruits in the world. Their mostly plant-based diet is full of legumes, vegetables and colorful fruits.
The daily life of a Nicoyan starts early with the sun and ends shortly after sunset. This helps them get a steady 8 hours of rest each night. While they do believe in a good nights rest, the locals in this Blue Zone have a strong work ethic. This allows them to remain active and healthy as they age which aids their purpose of life (plan de vida). Remaining active is something most Costa Rican's cherish whether its hiking, taking care of animals, outdoor work or even biking to and from school/work.
Located in a tropical climate, sunshine plays an important role in the Nicoya Peninsula's Blue Zone. The locals get a healthy dose of sunshine every day which gives them quality Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for calcium consumption and bone growth. In addition, smoking is very uncommon.
The people living in the Nicoya Peninsula are dedicated to living a healthy life, but most importantly a life full of happiness. Costa Rica's motto is Pura Vida, so it is no surprise one of its most beautiful regions has some of the longest living people in the world.
Come visit Costa Rica and experience firsthand this healthy and happy lifestyle!