Kristof offers that Costa Rica ranks highest among the happiest countries in the world. The beautiful coasts may have something to do with this. Also, Costa Rica in 1949 disbanded their army and started devoting money to education.
Costa Ricans rank high on any of the methods employed to measure such variables as happiness. See Kristof’s editorial here.
Honestly, if I had to choose between spending next week in Kansas or Costa Rica, I don’t believe the decision would be at all difficult for me.