costa rica 2007 - san jose | The Life of K: costa rica 2007 - san jose

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

costa rica 2007 - san jose

day one: ottawa to san jose

day one was our travel day. we slept in (for a friday) and ran around getting everything ready. as far as i can remember, this involved most, if not all, of our packing. we were excited and buzzing around. such a great feeling. we called a cab and were off to the airport.

airports were exciting when i was younger, but now they're just airports.

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to pass the time, we took pictures of ourselves and our passports and boarding passes.

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our plane was late leaving but we finally got on and got settled and were off.

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we stopped in atlanta and made it through customs and security no problem. we exchanged some of the american dollars we had purchased the night before into colones, the currency of costa rica. we got about 130 000 colones according to my notes, but i might be missing a zero. 500 colones is about one us dollar. we had lots of us dollars.

so other than having both our flights being late, the actual trip to costa rica wasn't bad. even the fact that someone, and i won't name names here, but i can tell you that it wasn't me, didn't put deoderant on before we left and was super smelly didn't bother us.

anyways, we arrived in costa rica about an hour later than scheduled.

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we cleared customs and security again, grabbed our packs, and made our way out of the airport to the feeding frenzy. two flights from the us landed about the same time and apparently everybody and his dog owns a taxi and was outside the airport mauling all the tourists. thankfully we had (j actually) arranged a shuttle to our hostel and were all set.

the shuttle was an oversized minivan, as most of the buses were, and we were crammed in with a bunch of germans. the drive to the hostel took a while. we were trying desperately not to look at the cars our driver was whizzing by while talking on his cell phone. it wouldn't have surprised me if he had his eyes closed as well his driving was so crazy. welcome to san jose!

you notice right away that the cars are different and there are palm trees everywhere. but also, all the businesses we passed in downtown san jose were all boarded up and had bars over every window. we thought we were in a run down part of town but later found out that every place locks up like that at night.

we made it to our hostel alive and checked in. we got a private room but the bathrooms and showers were shared and down the hall or upstairs.

the costa rica backpackers hostel was recommended by the lonely planet but we would not recommend it. it was dingy with paper-thin walls and the bathrooms were gross. we didn't stay long enough to try the pool or the kitchen/restaurant area, but we weren't all that enthralled by san jose in general and spent the rest of our waking hours trying to figure out where to go the next day. j spent a lot of our sleeping time listening to the germans talk excitedly about.. well, he isn't sure about what.

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the place did have free internet though so hat's off to you, costa rica backpackers.

day two: san jose to tamarindo, the san jose portion of the day

we woke up super early, packed up all of our stuff, and got a taxi to the airport. not the international airport we flew into on day one, but another, smaller airport that deals with domestic flights. let me not forget to point out that on the crazy drive to the airport we saw a guy pooping on the side of the road. you read about these things but you never expect to see it or that it really happens for that matter. i can assure you that it does happen and that you only must go to san jose and you too will see a man pooping on the road.

we had to wait around the airport for a while to talk to the guy about getting a flight to tamarindo but after some sandwiches (we were scared to try anything that didn't look like north american food) and water, we bought two tickets, got our packs weighed and checked, and sat around waiting for our flight to leave.

the airport was a tiny little thing, but it had four walls and a roof. the bathrooms were actually pretty nice.

so we're excited because we're in costa rica and will soon be saying good bye to san jose and then we see our plane:

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it seats 17, 19 with the pilot and co pilot. it was a tiny plane. i think there were 6 of us on it.

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we had a good laugh about the gas truck that service the nature air planes. check out the name on the truck:

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the take off was fine and the views were neat.

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but we were a little scared and maybe vomity. j didn't think we were going to make it and was doing that cold-sweat-about-to-vomit thing. i was just a little nauseous and thought the book in my lap was levitating with all the up and down we were doing.

and that concludes our first stay in san jose. if we go back to costa rica again, we will be flying in and out of liberia to avoid san jose altogether. like the guide book says, it's a necessary evil.

next post: tamarindo.


  1. pictures!

    For a minute I thought you exchanged your US dollars into cojones. It took me a minute to get it straightened out in my head.

    The costa rica backpacker's hotel looks stylish. Is that blue thing behind j a curtain?

    I can't wait for the next instalment.

  2. it's like a chapter book being read to you, so you can't peek ahead. I want to know what happens! That plane looks awesome!It looks home-painted, like as a part of the service you can add your initials or a doodle to the hull somewhere. That would actually probably make for a really cool plane.

    Anyway, yay pictures, and yay your trip. i didn't bring a camera on my field course (doesn't totally feel like a trip!) but others did and have posted their pictures, so I'll steal some soon and repay this favour. Yay!

  3. we actually did have one of the nicer rooms at the hostel. the curtain behind j in the picture covered up a huge window that looked out to the pool and yard. at least it wasn't bunk beds.

    and actually, most of the places we stayed had crazy curtains come to think of it.