By Christopher Graham
THE OSA PENINSULA COSTA RICA
A Possible Blue Zone, Osa Peninsula
Where we live is a matter of medical and therapeutic interest. In fact, geospatial medicine studies show how location affects our health and well-being. It is said that in addition to having a genetic DNA, people also have an environmental DNA. Typically though, people do not take into account how much the place in which they live impacts their health.
Blue Zones are regions of the world where people live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Typically these are enclaves that tend to have abundant sunshine, green spaces, an emphasis on fitness and access to whole foods. As a matter of interest, professionals in the health care industry believe that where a person is living determines their level of happiness more than any other factor.
Costa Rica is only a small dot on a world map, and the Osa Peninsula is hardly visible to the naked eye. It is indeed a phenomenon that on this small footprint you will find “the most biologically intense place on Earth”. There are 500,000 different species of wildlife on the Osa itself, and that translates into 3% of the world’s biodiversity. That means that 1 in 40 of all of the world’s plant and animal species lives within the Osa. With more than 750 species of birds, the Osa Peninsula has more species of birds than in all the USA and Canada combined! It is also here that whales from both hemispheres come to teach their calves to swim, and where super pods of dolphins, numbering in the thousands, come to congregate.
With almost no pollution and lots of clean water and fresh air, Costa Rica is one of the only countries in the world to reverse deforestation by planting more trees than it harvests. Although scientists tend to separate environment and individual behaviors, research suggests the two are linked. Sociologists from the ‘Happy Planet Index’ have written that Costa Rican’s report “the highest satisfaction of life” amongst all of the countries listed on the index.
Costa Rica has already been identified as being one of only five Blue Zone longevity hotspots. It is here that you will find the longest living people in the world. I guess that all of this natural beauty and happiness must be good for you. It is not surprising that so many people are eager to move here and to experience the magic in the ‘Pura Vida’ approach to life. A laid-back, easy-going, warm, friendly attitude that permeates everyday interactions.
The Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica has all the ingredients to be designated as another ‘Blue Zone’, along with its friendly population that has grown up with the evolution of conservation, the growth of ecotourism, and the love of nature. Families often have members here who live well into their 90’s and still enjoy an active life.