Credit to Rich Roe for pointing out this fascinating National Geographic article about happiness. It focuses on three of the countries that consistently end up on top of rankings of the happiest countries: Costa Rica, Denmark, and Singapore.
The author says Costa Rica “ is not only Latin America’s happiest; it’s also where people report feeling more day-to-day positive emotions than just about any other place in the world.” It is a place “where an alchemy of geography and social policies has created a powerful blend of family bonds, universal health care, faith, lasting peace, equality, and—[…]—generosity. This all culminates in an especially rich recipe for enjoying life day by day—the pleasure strand of happiness. Here this combination—all statistically associated with well-being—delivers more happiness per GDP dollar than just about anywhere else.”
I think there is a lot of truth to this. When I was searching around in the tropics of the Americas looking for a place to build a beautiful, walkable beach town I eventually focused on just Costa Rica. I had various reasons, but by far the biggest was the people. Ticos really are, generally speaking, nice, kind, welcoming, positive, and happy. The country they have created may not be perfect, but its heart is consistently in the right place. The things the country prioritizes, like education, health care, and the environment, are admirable. As the article says: “The researchers who publish the annual World Happiness Report found that about three-quarters of human happiness is driven by six factors: strong economic growth, healthy life expectancy, quality social relationships, generosity, trust, and freedom to live the life that’s right for you. These factors don’t materialize by chance; they are intimately related to a country’s government and its cultural values. In other words the happiest places incubate happiness for their people.”
At Las Catalinas we are grateful to be part of a country with so many great qualities, and we are very conscious of doing what we can to make a great country even better. Thus the next to last of our Core Values and Beliefs: “We love Costa Rica and will be a positive influence in the country.”