Can you guess the happiest country in the world? COSTA RICA!
In between the massive task of moving countries, making preparations for Christmas (it’s that time of year again) and keeping up with travel blogging, I began to think about the meaning of happiness on a global scale. I’ve tried to define what happiness means for a modern-day individual, family or nation. What’s the key to that happiness?
Most of the Western World is in constant pursuit of happiness, yet most of developing countries cannot even afford to stop and think about it… Suddenly there’s a question that comes across my travel-psyched mind:
Is there such a thing as the happiest country in the world?
In actual fact there is, and after searching through a fair amount of data compiling sites, I came to this conclusion: It’s Costa Rica.
HIGHEST POSITIVE EXPERIENCE INDEX
Something known as the Highest Positive Experience Index defines a set of criteria through these questions:
Are you well rested?
Did you laugh or smile yesterday?
These two seemingly simple questions contain so much value in their even simpler yes or no answers. Isn’t it, then, surprising that most Latin American countries score highly in this index. And also, that they collectively show cultural tendencies to focus on the positives in life? (Mind you, being a Latin American myself, I might as well know!)
European countries such as Denmark, Switzerland and Finland feature in the top spots of the World Happiness Index for 2016, embodying (a shade of) happiness also linked to high GDPs. However, my attention was drawn to number 14 of the list, which is the first Latin American country to appear, just below the US.
FIVE REASONS WHY COSTA RICA IS THE HAPPIEST COUNTRY
Now, let’s have a quick look at five facts about Costa Rica. Let’s see why it should be considered the happiest country in the world:
ONE. People in Costa Rica love peace. Costa Rica is a country without a national army. Following its abolition in 1948, the government redistributed the funds budgeted for the military to cover other needs: Education, health and pension payments. This significantly changed the positive quality of life of locals.
TWO. Their greeting and law of the land says it all: Pura Vida! (Normally translated as pure life, but as a Spanish translator myself, this definition hurts! Pura Vida is more than pure life… it’s closer to life at its best than you could imagine!).
THREE. Levels of well-being are very high. Surprisingly, they surpass those of the USA and the UK, while their life expectancy is also higher than that of the USA at 79 years of age.
FOUR. Locals have a strong ecological conscience. The name of the country means Rich Coast, no wonder with so much of its heritage being on full display. Costa Rica has a plethora of wildlife refuges and natural conservation regions. The preservation of these magical places is critical to public spending. A special tax feeds the environmental protection of its unique biodiversity. To this effect, the per capita ecological footprint is about one-third of the US’s.
FIVE. In 2015, it was recorded that 99% of Costa Rica’s electricity production came from renewable resources. By 2021, the goal is to be a Carbon Neutral country. We wish them best of luck for achieving that!
Can I add a SIX? Ice cream flavors in Costa Rica are originally creative. Some slightly bizarre: coconut, sour cream, goat cheese, chocolate almond, peanut, wild blackberry, chipotle blueberry, and more deliciously wacky ones.
TREAT YOURSELF SOME PURA VIDA
Aren’t you in love with Costa Rica yet? We can explore some more reasons, and explain some of these further in another post (we haven’t even begun to unravel its hidden treasures).
Considering that you can now kill two birds with one stone (metaphorically speaking, of course as we love birds, and animals, and all things sentient!) by visiting both Panama and Costa Rica in one trip.
Why wouldn’t you and your family want to experience what it’s like in the happiest country of the world, first hand?
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