San José Costa Rica
After a 9 hour journey (that felt like 3) we arrived in Costa Rica. Flying in, as far as our eyes could see was jungle. We are so excited for Costa Rica, getting into the jungle, seeing the birds and wildlife that the country has to offer. It’s one of the places we’ve been looking forward to the most.
Pura Vida! “Pure Life” is used as a greeting, farewell or pretty much said at anytime. Costa Ricans are proud of their amazingly beautiful country and use the phrase as a sort of welcome phrase and also as a way to say just “enjoy it”!
Border control and customs were all super easy to get through. We jumped in an Uber and headed for our hotel, pretty easy going trip and arrived within about 40 or so to our hostel in the suburb of San Pedro.
The hostel, In The Wind, was lovely. It had some beautiful murals on the wall, one whole wall dedicated to london that had a sillouhette of the city (including all the best parts of London) and then little figures representing different things like James Bond, Guy Fawkes, Mary Poppins and Harry Potter to name a few. It was really cool.
That night we headed to a local vegetarian restaurant, after the day of airport food we needed some vegetables. We shared a platter of hummus, babaganoush, falafels and other bits and pieces, which was great, but all the stories of Costa Rica being extremely expensive were true. This was probably our most expensive meal yet.
The next day we woke, had our free amazing pancake and coffee breakfast and hit the city of San Jose.
Sunday Mass @ Catedral Metropolitana De San José
San José also known as “Chepe” and once known as “Villanueva de la Boca del Monte Del Calle de Abra” (not sure why they changed it), is much like any other big city with big concrete buildings, lots of traffic, noise and smog, the usual urban sprawl. It was declared the capital in 1823 after the Battle of Ochomongo against the competing and current capital city of Cartago. More recently the population has increased as Ticos (Costa Ricans) and Nicaraguans have moved into San José in search for work. This has created fast growth of shantytowns around the outskirts and unfortunately crime rates have really increased which is to be expected in a place where one in five people live below the poverty line. Most crimes are petty- robberies and mugging, Costa Rica has the lowest crime rate of any Central American country.
Catedral Metropolitana De San José @ San José Historic Center
We walked through the streets, visited churches, came across a couple of support demonstrations for Nicaragua, and wandered into an artisanal
Market. We walked through the city for about four hours before stopping for lunch. We had probably one of the best Vietnamese meals at a little place called Cafe Rojo, again pretty pricey but the food was worth it this time.
Street art @ San José City Center
We walked through some more parks and streets lined with graffiti for another couple hours before the rain hit. We jumped in an Uber and headed to grab some groceries and headed home.
That night we planned our trip for the next day to Tortuguero, cooked ourselves some dinner (much cheaper than eating out) and did some trip planning.
Chepe Cuidad @ San José
Bienvenido @ San José City Center
The following morning, after our coffee and delicious pancakes, we headed for the bus station, grabbed a couple of tickets and jumped on the first bus of 2 (and a boat) to get to Tortuguero. We had weighed up how to keep the transport costs down for Costa Rica as it’s pretty geared towards all inclusive shuttles or car rental, both which are very expensive but obviously a lot faster. Transport from
San José all the way to Tortuguero cost us about US$10 each instead of $110 for both of us in a shuttle that only got you as far as the boat. The bus was no trouble at all.
San Jose is extremely beautiful once you leave the main streets and head into the churches, parks and back streets that have some beautiful street art. As San José is the start and finish point for most of the buses, we will be back and forth out of here quite a lot in the next couple weeks, as the buses aren’t all that frequent either, and that ain’t so bad.