Costa Rica Not as ‘Pura Vida’ as It Used to be, Rasta Says

Had to skip Thursday morning surf due to packed agenda


“It’s just not all tuanis all the time anymore,” says High Red

PUERTO VIEJO – Costa Rica’s reputation as a laid-back “pura vida” nation is being compromised as the country embraces 21st century development, according to a Puerto Viejo-based Rastafarian sitting in a tree.

The Rasta, who goes by “High Red”, popped a tire on his beach cruiser and snapped a strap on his sandal Thursday morning. While replacing both the tire and flip-flop, he only had time to smoke one joint, missed a surf session, and forgot to feed his dog as the to-do list piled up.

“It was stressful, mae,” he said Friday as he hurriedly drank Agua de Pipa from a coconut. “I’m starting to wonder if this is still the lifestyle I want to lead. I feel like I have zero free time anymore.”

High Red said the advent of technology has also cramped his once carefree and disconnected lifestyle. Since finding a smartphone abandoned on the beach by a Norweigan tourist, High Red has been in constant social demand given his recent downloads of WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook.

“All day long it’s like ‘beep’ and then like ‘beep’ again,” he said. “I’m busy enough as it is, mae. Sometimes I wish I could just unplug like I used to.”

The town of Puerto Viejo, known for its tranquil, lazy vibe, is developing at warp-speed, High Red said. The town’s electricity only went out twice last week and people are driving as fast as 35 kilometers/hour on recently paved roads. He also heard the town is planning to open a Starbucks before 2030.

“We tell tourists to come here for Pura Vida or whatever,” he said as he labored through rolling a blunt. “Every day this place looks more like Manhattan or that big city in England.”

When asked if would consider leaving town, High Red said he’s thought about it but sometimes gets distracted. He also said he wouldn’t know how to pack up his surfboard or hammock.

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