Costa Rica has long been a destination for adventure seekers, honeymooners, backpackers and travel enthusiasts alike. With its diverse landscape, tropical beaches and abundant wildlife, its no wonder people have been flocking to the small country for decades.
One of the regions that many adventure seekers choose to explore is the Nicoya Peninsula. An 80-mile peninsula just south of the Nicaraguan border, this area boasts world class surfing, several wildlife reserves, waterfalls and amazing hiking trails. It also acts as home to many retreats centers and unique hotels including our very own Tambor Tropical Beach Resort. But there’s something else that makes this place very special.
In 2004, National Geographic set off to identify places around the world where people live measurably longer lives. These Blue Zones” are home to people that live longer, happier lives through active lifestyles and report of high life satisfaction and happiness levels. Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula joins Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa, Japan, Loma Linda, California, and Icaria, Greece as one of the world’s five blue zones!
Here in Nicoya, the people have especially long lifespans and are more than twice as likely than Americans to reach a healthy age of 90. So what’s the secret to living longer and happier here in Costa Rica? Researchers say it’s a combination of things. From the water and diet to physical activity, Nicoyans somehow hold the recipe and all the ingredients to a long, healthy and vibrant life. American researcher, Dan Buettner, visited the Peninsula and discovered the following factors that contribute to these healthy lifespans:
- High Calcium Intake: water is high in calcium
- Healthy Diet: The Costa Rican diet, especially in rural areas, is heavy on the “Mesoamerican Trifecta,” the traditional foods of the native Chorotegas. Beans, squash, corn and flour tortillas are the staples of this high-fiber and low-fat diet.
- Staying Active: The area’s residents keep very active. Many are ranchers, and maintain active lifestyles well beyond typical retirement age. Residents report satisfaction with their work lives and everyday chores.
- Eating Light: Nicoya Peninsula residents eat more calories when the need them (like before heading out into the fields) and fewer calories when they don’t which is proven to tack years on to your life.
- Focus on Family: Nicoya centenarians stay very close to their family, usually living with their spouses and extended family.
- Active Social Lives: Many residents are very active in their communities.
- Dry Climate: Due to the dry climate, people living in this area are exposed to al lot more sunshine and high levels of vitamin D.
Needless to say, the Nicoya Peninsula is a special place that is home to a very unique group of people. We encourage everyone to visit the area and experience the Blue Zone for themselves. A little rest, relaxation and cultural immersion can prove to be the best way to experience the PURA VIDA here in Costa Rica!