san jose, costa rica: not impressed with first impressions

costa rica was the first country in my latin america trip. why costa rica? it was the cheapest flight to latin america out of LA. i didn’t change pick it for any special reason, nor did i feel the need to do my homework before going

friends in california who have been to costa rica didn’t enjoy it. they said they all complained of the mosquitoes. latin american travel buddy says travelers have been telling him how expensive it is. meanwhile i was just thankful that after wasting away in the US, i was finally on the move again.

i guess it was cool that i didn’t have any idea what to expect. otherwise i would not have chose costa rica. but i am getting ahead of myself. first i’ll talk about costa rica’s capital, san jose.

FIRST DAY
costa-rica-aerial-viewthe view from above should have alerted me to the fact that costa rica will be an endless place of green living things (or cloudy places). but i was too blinded from my relief to be moving again, so i pushed that aside

anyway from the aiport it’s easy and cheap (CRC520) to get to the center. exit the airport and turn right. wait for the bus going to san jose at the first bus stop you’ll see. if you’re unsure, there are people you can ask which bus to take.

san-jose-costa-rica-first-impression
i’m immature, i know

the short ride to the center wasn’t impressive, aside from the fact that people were still driving shift sticks.mostly it looked to me like a province trying to push itself to be modern, but not quite there yet.

you get off the bus at the last stop, in front of Iglesia de la Merced. this is the main landmark in town. make it like your base camp if you may. from here it’s a 2.4km work to casa del parque.

san-jose-costa-rica-iglesia-nuestra-senora-de-la-merced-2i came at a bad time-during the rainy season. it rained while i was walking, but luckily san jose had many trees lining up the streets, so i didn’t get wet.

also, this is the heaviest my bag has ever been. it took me an hour at least to get to the hostel. and given that i haven’t slept that much, i was super tired. my first legit interaction with a costa rican also wasn’t good. i should have taken this as an omen of my overall enjoyment of the country

SECOND DAY
the second day i just stayed inside my couch surfing as it rained the whole day. also travel buddy will only arrive in the afternoon. i was still recovering from the flight, so i took advantage of the empty house and cool temperature inside

THIRD DAY
so this was my first official day exploring costa rica. i was not particularly impressed but at the time, i accounted that to overall tiredness and adjusting the the fact that i will be traveling with someone for…an unknown amount of time (tough adjustment for the “independent” woman).

but at least everything “touristy” was within walking distance from the hostel. so that was motivation enough while the sky bursted into rain.

Parque Nacional
this one is right in front of the hostel. not that big or grand, but a good place to just chill and do nothing. it’s clean and there’s not a lot of people

san-jose-costa-rica-parque-nacional

Chinatown
the picture is doing more for this place that it actually was. there’s nothing here. seriously, nothing

san-jose-costa-rica-chinatown

Cathedral Metropolitana
i’ve seen so many churches, i can’t remember what was special with this one, except probably it’s imposing structure among other buildings surrounding it

san-jose-costa-rica-cathedral-metropolitana

Post Office
ok, this one i was impressed with. it was big and beautiful in a very crowded area, which highlighted how nice it was

san-jose-costa-rica-post-office

Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Merced
do you see any significant difference from the first cathedral?san-jose-costa-rica-iglesia-nuestra-senora-de-la-merced-1

Teatro Nacional
i tried going in but i had to pay…i wasn’t ready to part with my money for something i didn’t know much about

san-jose-costa-rica-teatro-nacional

TRAVEL DETAILS
Where: San Jose, Costa Rica
Dates: 2015.10.11-13, 31

Transportation Costs
Airport to San Jose:  CRC520

Accommodations
Hostel Casa del Parque
Private Double Room: CRC5,550 x 2 /night
Dorm Room (10 bed dorm): CRC5,550/night
Additionals: w/ fan, shared bathroom

Hotel Asia
Private Family Room:  CRC6,000 x 2
Additionals: w/ fan, private bathroom

Food, Snacks, and Groceries
1 Dinner: CRC1,785 (empanada)
1 Lunch: CRC1,200 (cup noodles)
Grocery: CRC500 x 2 (breakfast)

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