Costa Rica's Blue Zone


Costa Rica's Blue Zone

First covered by National Geographic in 2005, author Dan Buettner identified five regions in the world where large numbers of people are living healthy and happy lives past the age of one hundred. The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, an 80-mile peninsula just south of Nicaragua, is one of these five regions!  

The Nicoya Peninsula is on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and contains portions of both the provinces of Guanacaste and Puntarenas.  Beach towns on the southern end of Nicoya include Malpais, Santa Teresa and Montezuma, but to the north, you'll find some of our favorites, including Playa Grande, which is where our TEFL training campus is located!

In this region of Costa Rica, reaching 100 years old isn't that uncommon.  It's no surprise that being far from the hustle and bustle of city life increases one's quality of life.  Furthermore, farming, ranching, fishing and working on nature or wildlife reserves are among the most popular occupations.  Therefore, the people of the Nicoya Peninsula are not short on vitamin D, which is needed to help your body absorb calcium.  Vitamin D deficiencies have been associated with autoimmune and heart diseases, diabetes, and osteoporosis. 

Apparently the tap water available on the Nicoya Peninsula has high levels of calcium in it also. We know that calcium is crucial to maintaining healthy bones, and it has been stated that there are considerably fewer incidences of broken or fractured bones due to falls in the elderly people of Nicoya.

The inhabitants of the Blue Zones share common lifestyle characteristics that contribute to their longevity. What are some good life lessons we can learn from those who live in the Blue Zones?

Regular Physical Activity:  Physical work and chores often make up part of the daily routine for those living in the Nicoya Peninsula, and this doesn't stop at a so-called retirement age.  People in this region often relying on walking as a means of getting around the communities as well.  Even if doing physical labor isn't part of your job or lifestyle, still make a point to get your heart rate up on a regular basis.  

Life Purpose:  Elders of the Nicoya Peninsula communities would agree that they have a strong sense of purpose when they feel needed, and this drives them to want to contribute to a greater good.  What's your passion in life?  Do you need to find a new career or community to ignite that purpose?

Stress Reduction:  Pura Vida!   This is not only the motto of the Nicoya Peninsula, but the entire country of Costa Rica!   It is implies a relaxed approach to life, not rushing or worrying about things beyond one's control.  Especially in Nicoya, some would say a simple lifestyle is favored.   What stressors can you eliminate from your life?  How can you control your reactions of stress?

Moderate, Plant-based Diet:  The dietary intake of the people of Nicoya is high in vitamins and minerals eating organic produce and staples like rice, beans, plantains, squash, sweet potatoes, papaya, bananas and homemade corn tortillas. Processed foods, sugar and alcohol are consumed in moderation.  Typically they eat a filling breakfast and light dinners.  What changes can you make to your diet to help you feel lighter and more energized?

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Engagement in spirituality or religion:  Costa Ricans typically have a strong sense of faith in God that has been passed down through the generations.  This faith and belonging to a church community often contribute to an inspiring hope in living a long and healthy life.  Where does your hope come from?

Focus on Family Life & Social Life:  Costa Ricans, in general, make their families a priority, often living in a house with three or four generations or living in the same neighborhood as much of the extended family.  They take care of each other and trust each other, and this often contributes to the purpose they feel in life.  

Likewise, communities in Costa Rica are still centered on the town plaza or square, where you will find the church and the soccer field or a park.   You can often find groups of senior citizens, especially men, congregating here on a daily basis.  They catch up on the town news and talk about the weather.  Do you know your neighbors?  How can you find a sense of belonging in your community?  

Ready to experience this healthy, happy, active, and sun-kissed lifestyle?  Take our 4-week TEFL training at the beach in Costa Rica and jump right in!   


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