I’m settling in nicely here in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica which happens to be one of the five Blue Zones in the world. Santa Teresa is located on the Nicoya Peninsula on the West coast of Costa Rica. A Blue Zone is defined as an anthropological concept that describes the characteristic lifestyle and environment of the worlds longest lived people. After being here for just over two months, I can easily see why the average life expectancy could be lived out for another couple decades.
From my observation, the environment alone would impact anyone’s health in a positive way. The sun is always shining and never seems to burn off the refreshing mist that hangs over the palm tree covered coast along the ocean’s edge. It feels like you’re in the perfect incubator, waiting to be hatched into your greatest physical potential. The rhythmic sounds of nature have their own impact on my health as well. Every morning I wake up to the crow of the roosters and the sounds of the birds chirping. You will often hear a deep howl in the distance coming from the Howler monkeys. You would think they were gorillas by the sound of their howl but they are rather small in comparison.
There seems to be very little sense of urgency here in Santa Teresa. Everything gets done in its own time. Stress seems to be at a minimum here. The locals close up shop to take an afternoon swim or watch an evening sunset. As I stroll downtown I am greeted by the locals motto “Pura Vida” which translates in English to “Pure Life”. It’s as common as saying hello to one another in the states. There is something magical about the pure life of Santa Teresa. In my extensive travels I have never experienced living to the rhythm of nature more than on the Nicoya Peninsula. All of nature is in perfect rhythm with the rise and setting of the sun which makes for a very healthy circadian rhythm. Lately I have found myself going to bed within after 2 hours of sunset and waking within 2 hours of sunrise and feeling great!
The food here is another contributing factor of why life expectancy is longer than normal. Most natives eat primarily a plant based diet; one that consists of leafy greens, beans and lentils. Also you will find there is no shortage of fruit in which many are extremely nutrient dense including noni, guanabana, cashew fruit and many more. You can find a fruit vendor along side the unpaved dirt road at any given time. Just the other day I came across a man selling five pineapples for two dollars, or another vendor selling three watermelons for two dollars! If you take a glance in the trees above it is not uncommon for you to see fresh fruit growing in it’s natural environment. Some of them consist of mango, banana, papaya, coconut, noni, oranges, limes. All these fruits grow in abundance here due to the fertile soil and temperate climate.
Overall the Nicoya Peninsula has reminded me to slow down, relax and feel the beauty around me. Each sunset is like a unique piece of art and has taught me to open to the present moment and embrace the impermanent nature of all things. With every sunrise and sunset here, I have grown a deeper appreciation for Mother Earth and her infinite wonders.