The happiest country
What makes you happy? Eating a delicious meal? Watching a beautiful sunset? For me, happiness is surfing. I love sitting on my board and watching the sea. When I ride a wave I feel truly happy. I’m Mauricio, and I’m a surfing teacher in Tamarindo – my home town in Costa Rica.
Now, let me ask you another question. Do you think it’s possible to measure happiness – to count it and say who is more happy or less happy? Well, it is! Researchers look at numbers such as: how long people live, how much money people have, and how much damage people do to the environment. Then the researchers write a report to say what they have found.
Costa Rica must be a very happy place. Recently we came top in the Happy Planet Index – a list that compares happiness information from 140 countries from all over the world. It is the third time we have been number one! World leaders and politicians are very interested in these happiness reports because the countries that do well can be surprising. Being rich doesn’t always make people happy. Some of the richest countries in the world are in low positions on the Happy Planet Index list.
In my job, I enjoy meeting people from all over the world. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy surfing, but some people do. Many surfers travel to Costa Rica from the United States and Australia. I often try to explain how my country is different to theirs. Looking after our beaches and forests is very important to our government and 99% of our electricity comes from ‘green’ renewable energy.
Surfing in Costa Rica is a wonderful activity for everyone to try. We have warm water so you don’t have to wear a winter wetsuit. We have clean beaches, and great waves all year. Visitors to Tamarindo who are already advanced surfers will love joining the local surfers every day. If you are a beginner, you need to have some lessons – and never go into the sea alone. Actually, I know a great surf teacher … that’s me!