The Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica: a Central American Blue Zone


Bennett Michaels, PaperClip Staff/Writer

The Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica is what’s known as a blue zone. Simply put, people in blue zones thrive compared to humans everywhere else. They live longer and healthier lives, and across all blue zones, the people share many notable characteristics in terms of their lifestyle choices and the opportunities presented to them by their surrounding geographical conditions. 

There are five blue zones in the entire world: The Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica, Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa, Japan, Loma Linda, California, and Ikaria, Greece. 

In all five of the blue zones, people move around a lot. They participate in different types of exercise, they swim in the ocean, they play sports, and their most common way to travel is by walking. 

People who live in blue zones also eat a diet mostly consisting of unprocessed foods. The foods they eat are typically filled with dense, bioavailable micronutrients, and are mostly naturally available carbs like honey, fruits, rice, or beans, or meat from local animals. 

Additionally, blue zones are located in areas around the world that are comfortable in terms of temperatures year round, and there is plenty of sunlight.

When in Nosara, Costa Rica, a surf town in the Nicoya Peninsula, it is easy to see why the term blue zone exists: Nosara is the picturesque location for a human being to thrive. 

Within blue zones, the rates of mental and physical illness plummet, people don’t turn to SSRIs, street drugs, or alcohol, and they connect better with their fellow countrymen. Everyone who lives in Nosara is welcoming, happy, and excited to connect with you. This is very different from some social stigmas one might see in other tourist destinations.

There are a myriad of diverse activities and opportunities for exploration in Nosara and the surrounding area. The beaches are pristine, but miraculously not overcrowded. One can surf, fish, or just lounge on the beach until their heart’s content. 

If one grows hungry from their time on the beach they can buy fresh fruit from any of the street vendors who maintain affordable prices, even in strictly tourist places. Unfortunately, if you are into bad food it will be nearly impossible to purchase a bad meal at any of the local restaurants. 

The casual beach bar food made up of chicken, beef, or fish tacos trumps the quality of food at a storefront in Rye or Hampton. Additionally, there is a wide range of options for fine dining. One can find scrumptious Argentine style steak houses, or

 spend the evening at a Costa Rican style restaurant that pays direct homage to the food of pre-colonial indigenous peoples. 

The Nicoya Peninsula serves as an excellent insight into what human beings need to thrive, and into what a blue zone truly is. It is an excellent vacation spot, and an even better place to aspire to call home.

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