Surrounding yourself by the province’s scenic beauty helps reduce stress. Pictured here is Llanos del Cortés waterfall. Photo by James Lucas

Q COSTA RICA LIVING (by Wilberth Villalobos Castrillo , Vozdeguanacaste) A healthy lifestyle in paradise: That’s what many Guanacaste visitors search for to relieve stress and recharge the batteries on unforgettable vacations.

Some go a step further and decide to move to the province to enjoy its famous pura vida lifestyle. But why is life more fulfilling in this part of the country?

The Voice of Guanacaste asked three health specialists about the benefits of this region that is such an appealing place to live: Arturo Guerrero, a general physician and yoga instructor, Gabriela Campos, a specialist in psychology, and Eugenio Farías, a medical specialist in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. Following are the experts’ thoughts on the issue:

1. Healthy Food. Guanacastecans’ diets traditionally include corn-based items such as tortillas, rosquillas (small, donut-shaped biscuits), corn bread or corn rice. In addition, many people grow their own food.

“People live mostly by working hard in the countryside, going to bed and waking up early, and they have a healthy diet based on corn,” Guerrero said.

2. Climate. Warm Guanacaste daytime temperatures favor those who have bone or joint ailments. In addition, the sun’s heat produces positive hormonal effects. In other words, the brain segregates substances that favor good feelings.

“Solar energy has an effect at the hormonal level that causes people to feel and appear happy. Climate has a direct influence on emotions in terms of mood,” psychologist Campos Aguirre said.

3. Air Quality. Clean air that is breathed in much of Guanacaste positively influences the body’s balance. Farías said this “invisible ally” is crucial for longevity.

“The air quality of Guanacaste, which is isolated from large factories, is fundamental for achieving a balance in the body through the oxygen that you breathe. Good breathing added to a healthy diet and stable climate increases longevity,” the expert in traditional Chinese medicine said.

4. The Power of the Sea. Sea breezes also have a powerful effect on health for local residents. According to Campos, studies confirm that ocean saltwater has a purifying effect in the blood for people who have daily contact with the ocean, such as fishermen. This helps strengthen bones.

5. Natural Landscapes: Green landscapes that are common during the rainy season, and the incomparable scenic beauty of nature that envelops the province help Guanacastecans live a more peaceful life.

According to Eugenio Farías, living in harmony with nature helps create positive emotions. Maintaining a peaceful environment boosts health by reducing stress, lowering heart rates and improving quality of life.

Blue Zones

The Nicoya Peninsula stands out in terms of the number of local residents with the greatest longevity in the country. In 2007, U.S. researcher Dan Buettner named it one of the world’s five longevity hotspots, where residents live longer lives and enjoy a better quality of life.

Last March, Nicoyan council members agreed to promote the canton as a healthy destination, working with the organization Costa Rica Azul.

According to information from the organization, the health and wellness tourism industry generates $1.2 trillion annually, for which the province could market its blue zone and position itself as a world-class destination in this field.

“It’s important to transform the green tourism offering that is characteristic of Guanacaste into one of health and wellness through culture, cuisine, sports and sustainability,” said Costa Rica Azul founder Christian Rivera.

Article originally appeared on Vozdeguanacaste, and is republished here with permission.


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