¡Bienvenidos! Downtown San José, Costa Rica
Trip Start Sep 13, 2011
4Trip End Sep 22, 2011
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Where I stayed
Hotel Don Carlos San Jose
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Las Orquideas - San Jose
We weren't scheduled to meet with our GAP tour group until 6p on Wednesday, so we pretty much had the whole day to explore San Jose. The city turned out to be close to what I had anticipated; a bit run down, fairly dirty, replete with countless uneven one-way roads, and very Mexico-ish (compared to the few places I've been in Mexico). I learned pretty quickly that I really should have brushed up on my Spanish skills a lot more before the trip!
We spent some time at the Museo del Oro (pre-Columbian gold) and the Museo Numismatica (Costa Rican currency). We walked around downtown pretty much all morning/afternoon, stopping to check out places like the Teatro Nacional and Mercado Central (where we had a really tasty and inexpensive "tipical" Costa Rican lunch at one of the "sodas" there). We also got our first glimpse of non-city Costa Rica when we explored the Parque Zoologico Nacional Simon Bolivar (after almost not being able to find the zoo's entrance!) It was a good thing a friendly local Tican helped us to the entrance; we saw a lot of cool animals that unbeknownst to us at the time would not be seen by us again on our trip (Tican animals like to hide when you're looking for them in the wild, it turns out!). Probably my favorite animal at the zoo was the Leopard; it came over to us when we approached its cage, and while it paced around in front of us, it kept meowing and making many "Kona-like" noises. (Naturally, we talked back to him in our best Leopard).
Later that night we were scheduled to meet up with the 13 other people (and our Tico guide) that would be joining us on our "Costa Rica Quest" tour. We had to relocate; our first night of the tour officially began at the Las Orquideas hotel/hostel, whose official address was "75 meters east of the automercado"
Back at Las Orquideas, we met our tour-mates and kicked off the tour with dinner at Sofia Restaurante Mediterraneo. I found it a bit odd that our tour guide would take us to a non-Tican, Mediterranean joint for our first group meal in Costa Rica, but no one else seemed to mind. (I didn't mind either when I finally was served my carpaccio de atun y marlin). Our guide and some tour-mates decided to check out reggae night at Las Orquideas, but we wisely headed to bed since the next day was going to be an early one; we were scheduled to leave at 730a for La Fortuna.
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