Costa Rica “Gift of Happiness”, Part 1: Arrival in San Jose

We just got back from Costa Rica, thanks to an all-expense-paid trip from the Costa Rican Tourist Board through their Costa Rica’s Gift of Happiness Sweepstakes. It was a terrific and amazing trip in every way — providing adventure, relaxation, stunning natural beauty and diversity, warm and wonderful people, fascinating culture, inspiration about sustainability, and numerous opportunities for us all to practice our very middling Spanish.

Because our trip was scheduled to begin the day after Anna’s school year ended, we experienced a bit of a whirlwind leaving home. Our adventure began immediately, though, with an easy day of flying and arrival in “The Happiest Country on Earth“.

We truly knew we were in excellent, capable and caring hands when Carlos met us at the airport, in a Gift of Happiness shirt and bearing gift bags for each of us, along with a booklet of vouchers we would use throughout the week for hotels, tours and more.

Because we arrived late in the day, our first night was spent at the Ramada Plaza Herradura in San Jose, where the airport is located. It was a fine and vast hotel, with a Catalan-meets-Miami feel. We relaxed, sampled the Costa Rican liquor, Cacique (the brand) guaro, a strong sugar-cane-based, vodka-like liquor, and then a coconut-based cocktail called a Miguelito, while all-purpose international dance music pumped into the lounge.

The next morning we enjoyed the typical Costa Rican breakfast, Gallo Pinto, or rice and beans, along with sumptuous tropical fruits, grilled vegetables and dark bread. We marveled at our good fortune to have landed in this lovely, exotic country for a week and were full and smiling when Carlos came by in the Gift of Happiness van to take us to what he promised would be a very special place.

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Gift of Happiness adventure.

 

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3 Responses to Costa Rica “Gift of Happiness”, Part 1: Arrival in San Jose

  1. Pingback: Costa Rica “Gift of Happiness”, Part 2: Mi Cafecito Coffee Tour | Slow Family Online

  2. Natalie J Vandenberghe

    I read Part 2 before I read this first segment. First of all, I love the photos! I’m curious: did you win this trip? If so, congrats! Either way, I’m envious ;)
    Hoping to travel more in the near future…

  3. Hi Natalie! It’s great to see you here. It was even better to meet you (and your family) and have that connection. Yes, I was offered the trip through the Costa Rica Tourism Board. They were confident that my family and I would find Costa Rica such a beautiful and happy place that we would want to come back and tell others about it. They were right! I do highly recommend it for family travel, for all the reasons mentioned and more. Hope to see you again. Take care!

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