It’s actually “pura vida,” as the locals say—the pure life. And they aren’t lying. This beautiful country south of south of the border delivers in beauty, culture, and happiness. Costa Rica is a lush and rugged country in Central America, cradled between the Caribbean and Pacific oceans.

Costa Rica is a strong ally of the United States. We share such a bond, that the country hosts no military, under the agreement that we will provide security if ever needed. In turn, their government has those funds freed up to spend on education, healthcare, and pensions for its residents. Costa Rica is a beacon of democracy, stopping transnational crime such as drug trafficking or cartel involvement. We are also top trading partners, as the United States is responsible for 40 percent of the country’s imports and exports. Routinely referred to as one of the happiest countries in the world, this may explain Costa Ricans’ average lifespan of 80 years.