Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Costa Rica: San Jose- Get Out Fast!

We just got back from a week long trip to Costa Rica, and it truly a great and eventful trip. We traveled to three cities, so I'm breaking up the posts to cover the distinct locations.

We arrived in San Jose in the early evening, picked up our rental car, and inserted ourselves into an onslaught of traffic and poor directions. San Jose is a large city, and Costa Rica doesn’t believe in street signs or addresses. Most locations are either "between street x and y" or more often "across from restaurant z". Never in my life have I been as grateful for a GPS (or distraught from not having one, but those are spoilers). Also, the direction of the streets changes depending on the hour. Fun times.
We stayed in San Jose on both our first and last night in the country. My recommendation? Don't. There is not much in San Jose to see as a tourist aside from a few museums, and depending on your location the surrounding neighborhood may not be close to anything worth while. We stayed at the Hotel Balmoral, which was essentially an interior room with a bed. Like I said, not too much of note. One tip, don't change money at a hotel in the city. hotels in other cities and banks offer much better exchange rates. You can get buy with dollars in the city for a night.

The first night in San Jose we were feeling snacky, so we took a trip to the nearby bakery and ended up with these snacks, a coconut cake (bit dry) and a chocolate cake (which was ok).

The next morning, I quickly noticed how early everyone is out and about in the city. People selling fresh fruit and trinkets line the streets as early as 6am. We were eager to get out to our next stop, so we popped down for a quick breakfast in the hotel. Breakfast in Costa Rica is simple and filling. You can expect fruit, breads, eggs, lighter sausages, and their traditional dish, gallo pinto. Gallo pinto is a mixture of precooked rice, black beans, and spices or chiles. The one I had in San Jose was the best I had all trip, complete with some green onions and fresh chiles.

More from our trip to Fortuna coming next…