If you’ve been to Disneyland (the one in California, the original), you know that they claim to be, “The happiest place on Earth.” Well, Disneyland has some competition and there’s data to support it; the New Economics Foundation released their Happy Planet Index this week and Costa Rica ranks #1 among all 151 countries analyzed.
This figure might speak for itself but just in case you’re still ready to take a trip to Disneyland before Costa Rica, it’s worth mentioning that the areas analyzed are Life Expectancy, Well-being Experienced by the people, and Ecological Footprint.
First, let’s consider Life Expectancy. Costa Rica, and Guanacaste in particular, is considered a “Blue Zone” where people routinely live to be 100 years old. Disneyland sells churros and coca cola all day long.
Now, let’s look at well-being experienced by the people. With its various climates, miles and miles of beautiful beaches and forests, 6% of the world’s biodiversity, and fiestas all year round, Costa Ricans have every reason to answer “how are you?” with “pura vida.” Disneyland does have the Matterhorn, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and who knows what else new since I was last there in 2000. However, waiting in lines hours long and having “It’s a Small World, Afterall” stuck in your head for days afterward may or may not contribute to the overall well-being of the people at Disneyland.
I’m going to skip the Ecological Footprint comparison for what I consider to be obvious reasons.
Is Costa Rica happier than Disneyland (and everywhere else)? We sure think so but come visit and see for yourself.
Read more about the Happy Planet Index by clicking here.