Spent a week in Playa Guiones, Costa Rica and was humbly reminded how pure life can be.
I was slightly disappointed with the amount of Americans/Europeans/English-speaking folk, but quickly realized I was more effected by it then the locals seemed to be.
There is an overwhelming love of life in Costa Rica and smiles for days and days. Sure, the guy from Kentucky selling American BBQ from his Tiki hut with his posted, Disney-esque "No Internet" sign (hilarious, dude) isn't quite what the locals might have created...but they still genuinely smile at him and say, "Pura Vida".
Which is what it sounds like, Pure Life. But I think it means something more like, full of life and represents an appreciation for all it's little details.
Even the K-9 contingency seems to live by this. There appear to be tons of stray dogs on the beach and around town but they seem healthy and friendly. Some even have collars, but no owner in sight. At first, I assumed the owners must be out surfing or strolling the beach, but soon realized there were just dogs everywhere, roaming and chatting with one another.
Come to find out, they do indeed have owners. Most of whom live in Nosara, the town just inland of Play Guiones. But its common for dogs to "vacation" during tourist season. They leave home, head to the beach, hang with the tourists, visit with friends, chow on leftovers and escort people to their accommodations, apparently.
I had a very friendly dog follow me home from a cafe and strangely enough he knew the way home better than I did. People, my route home was literally -- turn at the second telephone pole, climb under three barbed-wire fences, follow the third path to the left. He was a good 5 feet in front of me and lead the way for the entire trip.
We traded info and we're meeting up again next year.