Monday, October 17, 2011

Costa Rica's Impressive Vacation Give Away

Costa Rica was recently named the "happiest country in the Americas" by the New Economic Foundation's Happy Planet Index. (Scoring consisted of judging country's quality of life, carbon footprint and life expectancy for their citizens.)

Happiness, like misery, loves company, it seems. How else to explain the fact that the Costa Rican government has set aside $1 million to give away free vacations to its North American neighbors?

Photo by J McMichael
 Unlike Japan, which is also currently contemplating giving away some 10,000 free air tickets-- no doubt to offset the 70% drop in tourism it experienced after its earthquake and subsequent nuclear reactor problems last March-- Costa Rican tourism is booming.  According to government sources, the country welcomed nearly 1.2 million visitors in the first six months of 2011, a new record and an increase of of 6.5 percent over the last four years' numbers.

But why look a gift horse in the mouth (or should a say a gift Quetzal in the beak)? The giveaway is going to get some 300 visitors to Costa Rica over the next several months for free weeklong vacations! Well, almost free. Visitors will have to pay for most food and drinks, and will have to pay the country's exit tax ($26). But still, its a tremendous steal.

Most of the vacations are being given away through Costa Rica's Facebook page, at the rate of one vacation, good for two people, per weekday through Feb 5, 2012. Contestants must first "like" the country, which gives Costa Rica access to their basic FB info as well as the right to post status updates, notes, photos and videos on their walls. Then, they can enter the daily sweepstakes.

The government will also be giving away additional vacations through Twitter, prominent travel blogs (not this one, though; I don't enter into those sort of arrangements with this blog) and popular news outlets.

A final word: the weeklong vacations being given away (which include airfare from major US hubs, hotels, ground transportation and guided tours) come in five flavors. Winners will be allowed to choose from light or extreme adventure trips, trips that offer a quick overview of the country's highlights, romantic weeks and week's that focus of Costa Rica's culture.

If you want more information about the contest without "liking" Costa Rica's Facebook page, click here.


  1. I loved Costa Rica! My husband is in the military and helped us take our dream vacation this summer. It really meant a lot to us, check them out if you want some great vacation deals.