There are few destinations in the world where you can lounge on the beach in the morning, zip line through the jungle at midday, and stroll the streets of a European-inspired capital at night. While Costa Rica might be one of the smallest countries in Central America, it’s certainly jam-packed with unforgettable adventures.
Culture: Embrace pura vida: It’s not often that a single saying grows into a national identity, but in Costa Rica, the phrase pura vida has encapsulated a nation. Pura vida — or pure life — is the perfect description for life in this Central American nation. Locals use the phrase informally, as a salutation (Hola, pura vida), to say thank you (Gracias, pura vida), and to express satisfaction or gratitude (Toda es pura vida), but it truly means much more. Costa Rica’s a country filled with spirited and welcoming people — lovingly called Ticos — who express an undeniable joy for life. It’s a culture that respects the earth before all else, and allows visitors to reconnect with the simple pleasures of life. The pura vida spirit lives in visitors long after a trip to Costa Rica.
It’s almost Mother’s Day, and as a mother and grandmother, I wanted to take a minute to share some motherly advice. While all moms appreciate the traditional Mother’s Day flowers, cards and the occasional breakfast in bed, the ultimate present has always been spending time with our children and yes, our grandchildren. I’ve watched my kids grow from wobbling toddlers to successful adults, and looking back over the years, the moments that bring the biggest smiles to my face are those spent enjoying time together.
With that in mind, I suggest rethinking the traditional Mother’s Day gifts this year, and consider giving Mom a present that will create lifelong memories for your family — a mother-and-child trip to an exotic destination that both of you are dying to visit and enjoy together.
In my more than 30 years in the industry, I’ve heard countless stories about how travel has built bonds and strengthened relationships. In fact, a lot of those stories are mine, having traveled internationally with both my own kids and grandkids. Not only do families learn about new cultures, they learn about each other and gain a new level of appreciation for one another. In case you haven’t discovered any mutual travel “must visits” of your own, here’s my Mother’s Day gifting guide to help you choose the perfect destination for you and your mom.
The first-time-traveler mom: Italy
Italy is a perfect destination for first-time international travelers. Your mom will fall in love with the welcoming Italian people and feel completely at home in the relaxed culture. Stroll through the winding cobblestone streets of Venice, a city that floats on water, and watch gondoliers serenade patrons as they glide along the city’s 177 canals. Travel to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, and shop for gold, jewels, and art on the Ponte Vecchio, a walking bridge lined with high-end stores. Then gaze upon Michelangelo’s famous statue of David. End the trip sipping bold red wines at a café in Rome and wandering through the ruins of the famed Coliseum. Whether you and your Mom love cooking, art, music or just plain strolling, you’ll find boundless opportunities to make memories that will last a lifetime.