I went to Costa Rica for the first time over 20 years ago and fell in love with this beautiful country wedged south of El Salvador and north of Panama. I was working on a very important project and spent almost 2 months there.
The Costa Ricans, known as Ticos and Ticas, are generous and warm. Yes, tourism is big business there but for someone who's traveled a lot, I was struck by their hospitality.
On my first visit there I saw the jungles of Tortuguero and took long boats down the canals to see wildlife like I'd never seen before and monkeys swinging in the trees above me. I saw nesting turtles drop their eggs in big holes they dug on the beach late at night. We floated into a cove where the water was smooth as glass, shiny black and reflected just like a mirror.
I saw sparks fly off Arenal, an active volcano while sitting in the thermal baths at Tabacon one night.
The Saturday market in San Jose is filled with such a collection of tchotchkes and keepsakes that I ran out of money or space in my suitcase before I was ready to leave. I still nap in the hammock I bought there years ago.
The beaches in Guanacaste on the northwest coast are filled with beautiful all inclusive resorts. And since I can't sit still for very long, I love to white water raft and do canopy tours from there.
And that important project I was working on years ago? He's 23 now and the one of the best treasures I ever brought home. The other was my daughter, 3 years later.