L.A. Parker, the award-winning columnist for The Trentonian, had a difficult decision to make: Paris or Costa Rica for his best vacation ever.
Parker wrote: Paris offered all the wonderful excursions, including a memorable first-day trip to Jardin de Luxembourg. With a (Costa Rican) girlfriend who spoke fluent French, we breezed through Paris. We stayed in an artist’s apartment near the Rive Gauche or Left Bank of the Seine River.
Paris required a regimented schedule that assured visits to popular tourist spots. The Louvre, Palace of Versailles, The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Montmartre, Eiffel Tower, etc.
Loved Paris although the trip seemed like entering a boulangerie and eating any available pastry or dessert. Sensory overload, a tarte Bourdaloue (pear tart) topped with a Paris-Brest (a pastry cake filled with praline flavored cream) then crowned with a Chouquette (sugar puff).
Back in the Americas, Parker had this to say about the land of his born and raised girlfriend:
Costa Rica arrived rough-cut, an adventure without any real roadmap except a residence with my woman-friend born and raised in Puriscal, 4th canton in the province of San José, Costa Rica.
So, of course, Laura, born and raised in Puriscal, spoke fluent Spanish. Considering Paris’ language ease and the similar situation in Puriscal, sure, there’s a good joke about the next getaway.
We enjoyed incredible food, fruits and vegetables as well as bus trips into the bustling capital of San José where vendors hawked any and every item one could imagine.
Day trips took us into mountains covered by coffee plantations and to Arenal Volcano, still active. Then came a five-day excursion to San Juanillo Guanacaste, about a five-hour trip west with the final 20 miles on a potholed unpaved road. San Juanillo delivered paradise with minimal tourists. Beaches were secluded as most days “crowds” meant no more than 20 sunbathers.
Our jungle chalet residence offered no television, radio or any other world noise. The recapturing of these memories gives Costa Rica more than a slight edge, especially meeting my girlfriend’s family members. Meeting her mother Daisy Umaña Garcia, six sisters and one brother, who all reside within blocks of each other, made for lasting mental snapshots.
The winner? According to Parker, it’s Costa Rica!
“As always, a human connection holds an advantage,” wrote Parker in his article published in The Trentonian. View the original.