Project 4– Pura Vida

Pura Vida, it literally translates to ‘pure life’ and has become Costa Rica’s (unofficial) slogan. After experiencing what Costa Rica has to offer, I can say that it is more than just a saying though. I would say Pura Vida is more of a lifestyle; one that embraces simplicity, one where you forget about time, step away from technology, follow the pace of nature around you, and be most present in your current surroundings. This is what Pura Vida is, and this is the serene experience that I am recreating through my exhibit space. For the installation of this piece, I wanted to make it as immersive and experiential as I could, so I played around with designing for the 5 senses. Each sense that I decided to design for is relating back to an experience that we had experienced in Costa Rica, whether it is the visuals, sound, smell, feeling
(touch), and taste.


Día 10, Mangroves, Niños, y La Cocina

Mangroves, niños de Cocal, and cooking; it was going to be an extremely long, and eventful day ahead of us. To begin the day, we had a 6 am start to be ready to leave for the mangrove tour at 7 but, luckily, we were fed with some scrambled eggs to get us through the morning courtesy of Mia.



On our way to the mangroves our only comprehension of them up until this point was the more dry-land area that was on the north side of Cocal. So, when we got to see this other side of the mangroves, how it actually forms, and the process that it goes through to separate fresh water and salt water, it was very fascinating. Our tour guide, Don Jorge informed us that the process is done by the tree picking a leaf that takes in all of the salt water and essentially kills it off, and that process is repeated.



When we were waiting at the beach to be picked up by Don Jorge, a couple of us decided to do a mini beach cleanup, and the amount of things that we found in such a small period of time was outstanding.

One of my favourite parts of the day was being able to ride in Don Jorge’s Land Rovers, as it reminded me of my dad’s Land Rover Defender 90 back home. Upon arriving to Don Jorge’s place, we were greeted with what seemed like an abundance of animals, from dogs to parrots. After eating lunch, my group headed back to El Cocal on what was probably the most memorable little trip along the beach with the wind breezing through the car, the waves crashing along the tires of the Land Rover, and the sun shining down on us.

Although all of this time has elapsed, when we got to the community centre at El Cocal, it was still only 12 pm. The next 2 hours that we spent in Cocal with the kids felt like a lifetime as the experience was mentally exhausting having to deal with a large amount of kids that only kept increasing as we were doing the work lesson. It was definitely a good learning experience for our group with how our exercise would actually play out with the kids.


After already being exhausted from engaging with the kids in Cocal, most of our group members were also about to have cooking duties for the night. After discussing what we could make, we came to the best decision of the day… to make tacos and yuca patties. From the response of everyone who ate our food (shout out to Zeinab, Ade, Merryn, and Ashley) I will definitely be attempting to perfect the Yuca patty when I get back home, so
hmu for some Yuca patties.

Day 3 – Quepos

En la mañana is when we prepared for our interviews with some locals of Quepos, and although we’ve been through the interviewing process prior in El Cocal, there were certain factors that we could not help but notice which slightly changed the course of the day because of the nature of the city. Two of the groups were successfully able to conduct their interviews, whereas one group was delayed because the interviewee was not present at the time. The original person our group was meant to interview, Don Rolando, unfortunately got into a car crash and obviously could not attend our interview. Although these situations had occurred, each group was able to conduct their interviews, even with interviewees that were not expected. This is the way of Pura Vida, being able to carry on and see the positive side of things even if it may seem negative.


En la tarde is when our group was able to interview the manager of the Wide Mouth Frog Hostel, Don Jorge; as well as a local Spanish teacher, Doña Runia. Both gave two slightly different perspectives on their experiences with El Cocal and how they think the general relationship between Quepos and El Cocal is.

Across all of the interviews that we have all conducted as a group a very common thing
has been said which Don Jorge stated very well,

“you can either give them a fish to feed them for a day, or teach them how to fish to
feed them forever”.

Doña Runia was able to provide us with a different perspective from any other Quepeña (Tica
de Boca Vieja).
She’s lived on the bay/canal that is right across El Cocal and remembers many times enjoying the beach there as a kid and even has many friends there today.
One of the main issues she sees that is preventing El Cocal from a stronger future is the amount of people that are building houses there without permission or permits, which
brings more garbage.

Collectively our groups were able to learn of two different forms of how Quepos deals
with their garbage. The first being run by the municipality which picks up the garbage
6 days a week; and the other being a company called Aso Pro Quepos run by a local businessman, Warren who picks up recycling every 15 days.


En la noche we were able to work on an group exercise that helped us understand the different environmental challenges at hand, along with the different ways that this information could be delivered or presented to the people of El Cocal, Quepos, and possibly other cities.

…Oh yea, and Andrew got his luggage.