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Old Apr 29, 08, 2:41 pm   #1
 
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Costa Rica Trip Help! May 2-6

I am heading to Costa Rica for the first time this weekend. Flying into SJO and staying at the Presidente Hotel in downtown San Jose. No plans to rent a car.

What are the can't miss sights in San Jose? Any good places we have to eat at? Any places to avoid?

We were planning on asking the hotel to book us on a tour or two, thinking rain forrest, don't need adventure like a zip line, we just want to see the country .... any thing to do or avoid?

Thanks in advance for any help, I have been reading other threads, but wanted more information.
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Old Apr 29, 08, 5:07 pm   #2
 
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I'll give you a few places to eat that are relatively easy access from downtown.

Donde Carlos (Los Yoses) Argentinian style steak
Hotel Grano de Oro (Paseo deColon) international cuisine, nice place
Machu Pichu (Paseo Colon) good Peruvian food, local favorite
Park Cafe (Sabana Norte) British chef who serves an interesting fusion menu
Plaza Itzkazu (Escazu) strip mall with a variety of restaurants including a Hooters and an Outback. I would recommend the Peruvian place (Chancay), Italian (Tutti Li) or Cuban (La GuaGua).
La Cascada (Escazu) traditional CR steak place, the baby beef is pretty good. The nearby Novillo Alegre also has excellent steaks.

There's also a few places in Barrio Amon area that are worth looking into (Bakea?). The News Cafe at the Presidente is pretty good as well.

A good day trip is heading out to Poas or Irazu volcano...you'll get a great idea of the countryside on the drive. Leave early in the morning so you can see the crater and avoid afternoon rains.
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Old Apr 29, 08, 7:14 pm   #3
 
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CRHeel94 ..... thanks for the info, that was exactly what I was looking for. If you can give me one more tid bit on the places you listed, would any of them be in walking distance from the Presidente Hotel (in my mind we will walk a couple of nights and drive a couple more).

Also, how is the night-life near the hotel and is it safe to be out walking late near the hotel?

Thanks and anyone else feel free to add.
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Old May 1, 08, 4:29 pm   #4
 
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Costa Rica Trip Help! May 2-6

Mike,

There is alot of night life for single males near the presidente, but it is not the best family neighborhood. Walking with-in the a couple of blocks is safe, but further out than 2-3 get a cab to be careful. None of the restuarants listed before are with-in walking distance, except Bakea which has been closed since January 2008. There are 3-4 museums with-in walking distance if you are looking for day time activity.

For an excellent meal get a cab to Hotel Grano de Oro, which is about 5 minutes from the Presidente. The Presidente is downtown San Jose, and the same evils you can find downtown anywhere will be available and many should be avoided.

Have fun!!
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Old May 1, 08, 4:55 pm   #5
 
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The Presidente is notorious for easy access to prostitutes. Maybe that was your intent. If not, just be aware.

I always avoid San Jose. It's a dirty city, crowded and has pockets of crime (like any big/capital city). Not my idea of a vacation. I'd enjoy walking along the pedestrian Avenida Central, right outside of the hotel. Have a drink at the Gran Hotel (to the west), and maybe take in the museums on the plaza there. If you go out at night, don't wear jewelry or take electronics (cameras, iPods, etc) as this will increase your target potential to crime.

The beauty of CR is not in San Jose. If you've got the time, a trip to Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Hot Springs (www.tabacon.com) is worth a trip, but these are a 3-4 hour drive from San Jose. Monte Verde cloud forest is nearby to see the rainforest. The best beaches are in Guanacaste, a few hours west of that. All of this is hard to do without a car. Maybe the hotel can recommend a tour group.

For your next trip, fly into Liberia (LIR) and you'll be much closer to the beaches and resort hotels.
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Old May 1, 08, 5:13 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynicAAl View Post
The beauty of CR is not in San Jose.
Agree 100%. The 2 times i went to CR I stayed in SJ just 2 nights - after arriving and before leaving. The rest of the time was all over everywhere else.
I remember going to INBIOparque just outside San Jose. It represents all the different ecosystems in CR in 1 tour. I liked it and the tour guides were extremely fluent in English.

Most everyone in the tourism industry is very fluent and easy to understand.
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Old May 3, 08, 12:16 pm   #7
 
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Thank for the info, I am in an internet cafe on Avenida Central right now ..... I didn{t know about the prostitution until right before the trip, and no that is not what I was looking for, so I arrived scared, but was really pleasantly happy, the hotel is nice, and not shady with prostitutes like I feared. Getting out into the country tomorrow.

Thanks for all the information.
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Old May 9, 08, 2:27 pm   #8
 
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At least you got a heads-up on the prostitute situation so it wasn't a complete surprise. Of the hotels that caters to that traveler "segment", the Presidente is probably the most decent and discreet.
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