1st Day - New Jersey to San Jose, CR

Trip Start Apr 15, 2011
Trip End Apr 23, 2011

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Where I stayed
Adventure Inn San Jose
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of San Jose,
Friday, April 15, 2011

Nearly all vacationers boast that half the fun of a vacation is the lead up to the departure. Sure, packing a chore but it's fun because you know that in mere hours you'll be sitting on white sand beaches, or lounging by a pool, or enjoying the atmosphere and culture of a foreign city. 

But there is no joy is waking up at 3am. O.k., 3:20 (I hit the snooze button a couple of times). Our flight was scheduled for 7:25 a.m. (at Newark, we all know scheduled really means 3 hours delayed), but because of security reasons Jen and I had to arrive around 5:30 to guarantee we would clear the TSA screening. 

Our friend Nick picked us up at our apartment promptly at 4:30, and I'm pretty sure none of us remember the drive to the airport since we were so tired. It is a good thing we left early because security took nearly 45 minutes to get through..and that was the 'Elite' passenger line

All in all though our spirits would not be dampened by the TSA, and we reached our gate with ample time to spare. Let me tell you, there is something deliciously wonderful about hearing this over Newark's PA system, "Good morning ladies and gentlemen. We would now like to start boarding all those passengers sitting in First Class." Sure, walking by all those people flying in steerage seemed wrong, but this was a feeling too good to pass up! 

Our flight departed on time, and was very nice. We got a high class meal, about 10 beverage services, fresh baked cookies before landing, hot towels, and more! I'm not sure I'll ever be able to fly again in coach! 

Though we did have some overtly annoying children behind us. The heavy musk of spoiled children hung around us the whole flight. Oh well.

Arriving in San Jose we were greeted with 85 degree weather. I already loved Costa Rica.

We got through Customs easily, found ourselves a cab, and arrived only about 10 minutes later at our first hotel, Adventure Inn. 

What a nice place. All open windows and doors, the tropical breeze constantly blowing through! Why doesn't New Jersey feel like this?! 

Despite the lovely hotel we were very tired, but decided that it was time to see San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica

Now let me be clear...I LOVE travelling. I can put up with most things. Exceptions include obnoxious tourists, panhandlers, crying children, and apparently San Jose. 

Our travel guide explicitly said that the city is "not pretty" but we were not expecting an urban nightmare wrought with pollution so heavy that your eyes burned, streets covered in filth, and little to see and do.

Granted, that was interesting in itself to see. So many of us are used to the big cities like New York, Philly, Boston, Paris, London, etc....that we can be overwhelmed by something out of our comfort zone. Still...I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend that people skip over this city and instead head for greener pastures. 

We did however see the beautiful National Theatre. Not only did it boast gorgeous, ornate decor but it also had delicious iced coffee. Score! 

Oh yes...how could I forget: the market. San Jose has a famous public market located in the center of the city. It's a sprawling indoor mall with hundreds of vendors selling everything from ground meat to guinea pigs...sometimes in the same store. You see, Jen and I are quite the animal lovers. And upon entering what looked like a pet store....things started to look a bit off pudding. 

When we walked in, all we saw were cute furry animals like bunny rabbits and guinea pigs. How adorable is that?! But upon looking more carefully at the other cages (containing roosters, chickens, etc) that these animals were not there to be pets...but appetizers. 

If going to San Jose wasn't bad enough, leaving it was worse. Friday marks the start of Semana Santa...or the holy week preceding Easter. So everyone and their brother was making a mad dash to leave the city for a week of vacation. Traffic in New Jersey is bad, but take away road signs, painted markings on the roads, and any sense of road rules, and you'll have an understanding of what traffic is like in Costa Rica. 

We finished our day with a dinner back at our hotel, and about 13 hours of sleep! We were going to have to wake early to catch a van to our next stop...Puerto Viejo! Night all.  
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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