yoga in costa rica

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Health + Fitness

Discover the Key to a Longer, Happier Life in the Nicoya Peninsula: Costa Rica’s Blue Zone

By now, you’ve likely heard of blue zones — places in the world where data indicates people live longer and healthier lives than the average person. Researchers have identified five global regions as blue zones, and Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, just south of Papagayo, is one of them.

In fact, Costa Rica as a whole embraces the notion of “pura vida,” meaning pure or simple life. Much more than a saying, pura vida is truly a way of life here, and this lifestyle shines in the Nicoya Peninsula and manifests in the people who live here. Indeed, blue zones like Nicoya have high concentrations of individuals over 100 years old, and are also noted for having people who grow old without the most common global health problems, like heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes.

A visit to the Nicoya blue zone — home to El Mangroove, Autograph Collection — could inspire you to improve your longevity by following these Costa Rican secrets to a longer and happier life.

Relationship with Nature

Residents of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula have a strong relationship with nature. The hospitable and gorgeous climate makes it easy to spend time outdoors, living and working in the natural world.

nicoya peninsula costa rica
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One important side effect of this lifestyle is that people get adequate sun exposure, which provides them with enough vitamin D. Luckily, life on the Nicoya Peninsula is filled with sunshine most of the year, and it’s easy to get outside for the recommended 15 minutes each day.

Even during the rainy season, you can usually enjoy a bit of sun in the morning during your beach stroll before the afternoon rains arrive to keep the peninsula green and lush.


An important component, found across all blue zones, including the Nicoya Peninsula, is a daily exercise routine. These Costa Ricans don’t need to force themselves to get to the gym on the regular because they’ve built low-intensity exercise into their lives.

As they go about their day of doing household chores, working the land and walking to their destinations, they’re constantly using their muscles, burning calories and strengthening their immune systems, which all adds up to a healthier life. So go for that morning yoga class or end your day with a beautiful evening surf session and you’ll surely feel the benefits.


A typical meal on the Nicoya Peninsula consists of black beans; white rice; plantains; other fruits and vegetables; small amounts of eggs, dairy and meat; and homemade corn tortillas. All these foods are grown locally and freshly prepared.

The black beans and rice form a complete protein and supply the amino acids that a human body needs. The assortment of local fruits and vegetables, such as plantains, papaya, squash, corn and pejibaye (peach palm fruit), offers carbohydrates, potassium, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

costa rican food
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But it’s not only what they are eating that helps these Costa Ricans live such long and healthy lives; it’s also what they’re drinking. The Nicoya Peninsula’s water is the hardest in all of Costa Rica, which means it has the highest concentration of calcium. Having the right level of calcium in your diet is said to help maintain the function of nerves, muscles and bones as you age.

To enjoy the benefits of the blue zone diet, follow the Nicoyans and take a trip to the local farmers markets, which can be found in the central square of every town on the weekends, or enjoy the fresh wholesome food and drink the clean, calcium-rich water (coffee and smoothies count, right?) at any of the excellent restaurants available, like Makoko at El Mangroove, Autograph Collection, overlooking the Gulf of Papagayo.

Community Ties

The last key to maintaining a Costa Rican blue zone lifestyle is to develop strong community ties and a sense of purpose. Residents of the Nicoya Peninsula are often good friends with their neighbors, which contributes to a sense of connectivity and purpose.

children with nature
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It’s also common for many generations to live under the same roof, which translates into strong familial ties. Centenarians benefit from regular contact with their children and grandchildren, which creates a sense of belonging and provides a sense of purpose. In addition to strong families, residents share a common history that strengthens the community’s ties.

Costa Rican culture in general is warm and welcoming. A perfect way to build meaningful connections with the locals is to volunteer. Luckily, there are many opportunities, and you’re sure to find a way to strengthen your bond with this rare and special place: the Nicoya Peninsula.

Make Yourself at Home in the Blue Zone

Located in the heart of Costa Rica’s famed Gulf of Papagayo, El Mangroove Autograph Collection Residences offer an unparalleled opportunity to own a barefoot luxury lifestyle with world-class amenities. Each residence has been thoughtfully designed to preserve and live in harmony amongst the property’s decades-old Cenisaro and Guanacaste trees.

Learn more about El Mangroove Autograph Collection Residences.