For the first time in recent memory (and only the third time overall, if I recall correctly) we have greeted the New Year away from home. It was our first time in both Costa Rica and Panama, the first time in Central America overall, and by the nature of the location of Panama City (where we spent two nights on a layover), the first time on the South American continent.
It certainly wasn’t my usual sightseeing type of vacation, since Costa Rica is obviously much better known for its climate and biodiversity than for its urban or cultural attractions. But I tried my best to keep up with the family in nature-centric pursuits. There was soaking in hot springs, swimming in waterfalls (my undisputed favorite!), ziplining and trekking through tropical forests, driving ATVs on back roads, splashing in the waves of the Pacific Ocean, surfing (in case you are flabbergasted at the thought of Ilya the Surfer, let me disabuse you of that notion – only the youngest family member was brave enough to ride those waves), and lots of excellent food and drink – in other words, indulging in pura vida, which has got to be considered a cultural attraction all by itself.
We did spend a bit of time exploring both Panama City and San Jose in the first few days of the trip, so I cannot claim that my main interests were entirely neglected. I even added a World Heritage site to my collection along the way.