|For the holiday season this year, Sandy and I headed to Costa Rica for an action-packed week of adventure and fun. My employer has an end-of-year holiday shut down and I didn’t want to let perfectly good vacation time go to waste. We left Raleigh early on Christmas Eve. Since the holidays are peak travel time, everything was very busy. We had to have our car valet-parked at Fast Park and Relax before heading to the airport as the parking lot was completely full. Fortunately, we made it to the airport in time and none of our flights were delayed. We flew to Charlotte and from there to San José. It was quite warm in Raleigh when we left, so not much of a difference in temperature when we arrived in Costa Rica. After deplaning and clearing customs, we found our driver and met Dana from Toronto, another tourist on our G Adventures trip. The driver took us to Hotel Autentico in San José and after checking into our room, we headed out to get cash from a bank and had a late lunch/early dinner at Soda Tapia. Sandy and I both got a steak sandwich. They were good, but really big. We should have just split one. After eating, we went for a stroll around Parque la Sabana, the central park of San José. The tropical flowers blooming in the park were absolutely beautiful, including some bright yellow trumpetbush. We also saw male great-tailed grackles, a bird that looks somewhat like a crow with a long tail. There was a huge Christmas tree sponsored by Coca-Cola, as well as a pretty artificial lake with ducks. As the sun was beginning to set, we had beautiful views of the lake. We then headed back to the hotel and met up with more of our tour group and our amazing tour guide, Ro. After introducing ourselves, Ro went over some of the logistics of the trip and background information. After the meeting, we went for dinner in the hotel. Sandy and I weren’t hungry as we had eaten so much just a little bit earlier so we had a couple drinks and socialized with the group and then went to bed early.