Pura Vida and Public Relations

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“When you say Pura Vida the facial expression of the person changes and the person smiles. It is a word very meaningful to Costa Ricans. It reminds us of home and its’ beauty.”

Pura Vida, a Costa Rican term meaning “pure life,” represents the idea of having  a holistic approach to life. It involves thinking of people less fortunate than yourself and appreciating nature, friends, and family. Costa Ricans apply this philosophy to all aspects of life, including their tourism industry. Because their country contains an incredible amount of biodiversity and natural beauty, they use eco-tourism as a way to grow their economy and allow others to appreciate their home. Ecotourism focuses on the idea of conscientious, low-impact visitor behavior including sensitivity towards local cultures and biodiversity in the area. It provides support for local conservation efforts, as well as sustainable benefits for local communities.

Costa Rica is a pioneer in the eco-tourism industry and sets the precedent for successfully marketing their destination. In addition to the country’s beautiful scenery and variety of outdoor activities, their positive messaging and dedication to their environment comes off as enticing and honest. For example, from May-November Costa Rica and Panama are subjected to a lot of rain. Rather than referring to this as a “rainy season”, they call it a “green season” reflecting the lush green foliage during this time of year as well “green” in an ecologically-friendly sense. This reinforces their commitment to eco-tourism and is a strategic way to allow tourists to see that regardless of the weather, their trip will still be worth their while.

Again, they use “Pura Vida” as their slogan to create a positive and consistent brand image. This phrase is all over their tourism websites and Facebook pages, so customers and tourists associate this easygoing way of living with Costa Rica, creating a positive brand association.

Costa Rica also targets the right audiences to visit Costa Rica as a tourist destination. Their most recent campaign targets overworked American and Canadian citizens who need to relax and take a break. The campaign is called “Save the Americans” and features singing animals offering travel information through a variety of media channels. It aims to entice adventurous citizens already interested in sustainability and helping the environment.

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Using unique and clever content, Costa Rica was able to target American’s motives for taking a vacation and further enhance their eco-friendly image. Costa Rica is the role model for marketing eco-tourism. They use their biodiversity and positive culture as a means of creating an industry that supports their local economy. Pura Vida, am I right?


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