Costa Rica: Our Wild Planet wins a 2015 NATJA Silver Award

We were super thrilled to hear that our print story “Our Wild Planet: A Multi-generational Visit to Costa Rica” was awarded a 2015 NATJA Silver Award  in Category 127: Special Focus Travel Articles – Print: 50+ travel.  It was also a Finalist in Category 128: Intergenerational & Family Travel.  The story appeared in the July 2015 issue of Fifty-five Plus Magazine, one of Ontario’s largest circulation magazines catering to mature adults.  

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Jaden on the job in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

The North American Travel Journalists Association is the second largest travel media association in North America. Members include travel media professionals, publications, destination marketing organizations, and other travel marketing agencies. The NATJA Awards competition, now in its 24th year, honors the “best of the best” in travel writing, photography and destination marketing that cover all aspects of the travel industry worldwide. Read more in the official NATJA award announcement. 

2015 NATJA Awards - Silver Seal

It’s a story that is close to my heart because not only did I have an opportunity to travel to one of my favourite countries in Central America and stay at the beautiful Dreams Las Mareas Resort & Spa in Guanacaste but I was lucky enough to travel with my 10-year old grandson, Jaden Gonsalves.

Soaking in a volcanic thermal pool in Rincon de la Vieja Park Costa Rica

Soaking in a volcanic thermal pool in Rincon de la Vieja Park Costa Rica


Soaking in a thermal pool at Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Soaking in a thermal pool at Rincon de la Vieja National Park

We’ve been travelling together since he was three (our first big trip was a 10-day journey by Via Rail  to Winnipeg) and we’ve since travelled to Turks and Caicos, Montreal and all around Ontario together but this trip to Costa Rica was the first time he was responsible for planning the photo shoots and testing two new cameras (Fuji FinePix S1 Super Zoom and the Fuji FinePix XP80 Waterproof camera).

A towering matopalo tree and water slide in the rainforest Rincon de la Vieja in Costa Rica

A towering matopalo tree and water slide in the rainforest of Rincon de la Vieja in Costa Rica

Plus, we had a blast, ziplining, swooping down waterslides (I opted out of that one), hiking up volcanoes and spotting wildlife like toucans, sloths, howler monkeys and sneaky coatli that would mooch food on our terrace. Travelling with a 10-year old means you’re definitely going to be doing a lot more things than you otherwise would do on our own. It’s a fantastic way to fully experience a country. We owe a HUGE thanks to Mardigi Tours who safely escorted us to Rincon de la Vieja Park and were so helpful  in spotting wildlife throughout the day.

Costa Rica Dreams Las Mareas swim-out suites offer luxury in the heart of nature

Costa Rica Dreams Las Mareas swim-out suites offer luxury in the heart of nature

You can check out the story in Fifty-five Plus Magazine online or by clicking here:

Thumbnail Our Wild Planet


Our next intergenerational trip is Montego Bay, Jamaica where we’ll be checking out the new Sunscape Splash Montego Bay, snorkelling in the Montego Bay Marine Park and exploring Jamaica beyond the beach. Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to hear all about this exciting new Caribbean resort – it’s set directly on 1,800 feet of beach. My kind of place. And with a Marine Park just steps away it’s perfect for Jaden too.

Other big news is that NATJA also awarded my story Hunting for Jamon, that appeared in Taste & Travel International featuring an Insight Vacations tour of the Iberian Peninsula, a Silver Award in the category of Culinary Travel. Plus, Sailing the Secret Caribbean was a finalist in the Cruise category!

Congratulations to all the award recipients and thank you NATJA!

Michele Peterson
Michele Peterson
Dividing her time between Toronto, Mexico and Guatemala (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is an award-winning writer, blogger, editor and publisher who specializes in travel, cuisine and luxury lifestyles.
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Showing 14 comments
  • Heather

    Well deserved, congrats!

  • Amanda Williams

    Awesome news. Many congratulations! As Heather said, this is very well deserved.

  • Kirsty Marrins

    Congratulations on your award! Wow, Costa Rica Dreams Las Mareas looks amazing…

  • Priya

    Awesome, Congratulations!

  • Paulina

    I saw the ziplining mentioned in some other posts and I can’t wait to do it. Looks like super fun, did you enjoy it? And congratulations on the award!

  • Varun

    Congratulations on the NATJA award. And nice briefing of the place!

  • Rosemary

    Congratulations. Love the multigenerational approach. Way to empower your grandson with the photos. Well deserved and nice story on the place.

  • Donna Janke

    Congratulations. The Costa Rica trip sounds amazing. How wonderful to be able to do these travels with your grandson. What beautiful memories you are creating for him.

  • jenny@atasteoftravel

    Congratulations Michele. How fabulous for you to be able to travel with your grandson. Your next trip to Montego Bay sounds fabulous too!

  • Janice Chung

    Congratulations, Michele! Your trip to Costa Rica looked awesome…and the Dreams Las Mareas swim-out suite looked amazing. Your grandson is very fortunate that his grandmother takes him on all these journeys! (And what a special memory for you!)

  • Irene S. Levine

    That is a triple crown: An award for taking your grandson to one of your favorite places!!

    I’m so happy for you; love your blog and this award is well-deserved!

  • The GypsyNesters

    Congrats! We loved our time in Costa Rica. Don’t have grandchildren yet but it certainly would be a great place to take them when the time comes.

  • Wandering Carol

    Well done, Michele. What an impressive awards sweep. And well deserved.

  • Sherel

    Well deserved!

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