The Best Family Vacation We've Ever Had

August 21, 2019

I have heard that exact phrase many times from families that have taken a vacation at Las Catalinas.   I'm always thrilled to hear it!   For some time I've been asking myself why.   Why have so many people had their best family vacation ever at Las Catalinas?   Why does that exact phrase keep coming up?   I think these are some of the reasons:

  • At Las Catalinas Home is More than Your House - At Las Catalinas the boundary between "home" and "not home" is sort of fuzzy.   Most everywhere else I can think of, you are either home, or you are not.   If you are home, other people in the family can find you and interact with you.   If you are not, they can't.   It isn't like that at Las Catalinas.   If you are down at The Green House getting a smoothie, or talking in Plaza Escondida, or playing catch on the green, or even down at the beach, your son can still find you if he needs to.   Or vice versa.   In most places home is generally kind of limited - no new people to meet, no new things to explore.   When home extends to the whole neighborhood, as it does at Las Catalinas, and when that neighborhood contains a lot of interesting things and people - well, that is a lot more interesting!   In the wonkish terminology of New Urbanism, Las Catalinas has a "rich public realm" that is very easily and safely accessible.   I believe the car-free streets within Las Catalinas (one of our more unusual things about our town plan) are super important in creating this feeling of the fuzzy boundary between home and not home.
  • Making Friends - It is not uncommon to see groups of kids who didn't even know each other prior to arriving at Las Catalinas running from house to house, arranging sleepovers, etc.   Adults connect too, and make some great friendships.   The way we have built encourages this, and there is a real sense of shared values among most of the people that come to Las Catalinas that helps too.   But in any case, it sure helps make for a fun and meaningful vacation!
  • Our Staff - The single thing I hear about the most from Las Catalinas vacationers is the great interactions they have had with our staff.   Costa Rican people are typically warm and friendly, and the Las Catalinas Core Values and Beliefs encourage our team to let their own individual  delightful personalities shine brightly.   The service level in our rental houses is very high, so there are many opportunities for our guests and staff to interact.   Many of our visitors are from far away, and they are curious.   They want to meet people from the local area.   The interactions that happen are satisfying all the way around, and by all accounts a very major contributor to our guests' great experiences.
  • Beauty - There is a lot at Las Catalinas that is really stunningly beautiful, both natural things and things we have built.   I frequently find myself thinking "Oh!   I wish my eyes were a camera, so I could take a picture of this!".   Being surrounded by all this beauty sort of permeates the whole experience, I think.   After a while it kind of catches up to you in a good way.
  • Connecting with Nature -   At Las Catalinas you are very aware of the rhythms of nature.   Sunrise, sunset, high tide, low tide, the phases of the moon, and the daily weather patterns are all really important in daily life.   Interesting animal sightings - monkeys, iguanas, pisotes, whales, pelicans, frigate birds, I could go on -  are common.   It is fun.   It feels good - like you are a healthy animal yourself.   As with the beauty, it catches up with you.

For a more concise summary of this, I will quote my young son McHenry.   As we were walking down Paseo del Mar last summer he said to me: "You know, the very best thing about Las Catalinas is just walking around."   And that, my friends, is the truth.