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SJO Lounge Denny's - aka best way to spend an 8 hour layover in Costa Rica?

SJO Lounge Denny's - aka best way to spend an 8 hour layover in Costa Rica?

 
Old Aug 1, 05, 10:06 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: 3A - most likey <> BKK <--> EZE; TACA 3A nobody, but GP million miler; Hilton Gold sometimes. Successfully divorced from CO PLAT.
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SJO Lounge Denny's - aka best way to spend an 8 hour layover in Costa Rica?

Mebbe some of you will have this same predicament comming up soon: An eight hour SJO layover approaches...

As I understand it, GRUPO TACA still does not have a Lounge in SJO. But I have read here about an independent lounge that is supposedly run by a travel agency. A $25 admission charge was mentioned. Where is this lounge in the SJO airport? Airside? Does anyone know if this is the same Lounge that is used by Priority Pass?

I've also read here about treaking over to Denny's as a way of passing the time. And I've read about the free WIFI that they apparently have there.

I've also read about 'trips up the road' from Hampton in pursuit of the coffee bean. As an alternative, has anyone had the Cafe Britt tour do an airport pickup?

Anyone have other suggestions as to how best spend an 8 hour layover in SJO? Perhaps someone has ideas of things to do or places to see...???
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Old Aug 1, 05, 11:04 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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It would depend what time your flight gets in and when you fly out. If your lay-over is during the day you could catch a cab up to Sarchi and shop for souvenirs.
You also might have enough time to go up to Poas volcano national park. It is about 25 miles north of the airport.
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Old Aug 1, 05, 11:45 am
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Heck, in 8 hours you could rent a car, drive to Jaco (or the Marriott), have lunch (or breakfast, or dinner or whatever) and then drive back to the airport. Plenty of time to do whatever....
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Old Aug 1, 05, 11:59 am
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Hmmm. A car! I hadn't even thought about that. 7:50A arrival 3:15P departure.
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Old Aug 1, 05, 5:56 pm
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by tfjim
Heck, in 8 hours you could rent a car, drive to Jaco (or the Marriott), have lunch (or breakfast, or dinner or whatever) and then drive back to the airport. Plenty of time to do whatever....
If anyone does this, don't forget to stop at the bridge over the river Tarcoles to see the crocodiles that congregate for the chicken and other food people toss over the edge.

Also. if going to the Jaco area, use plenty of mosquito repelllant. There have been Dengue fever cases reported in the area recently:

http://www.cdc.gov/travel/other/deng..._rica_2005.htm
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Old Aug 2, 05, 10:07 am
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Renting a car for a day is not a bad idea, even if you want to see San Jose and its environs. In comparison, I had friends who had 6 hours at the airport and hired a cab to take them on a tour of the city. The going rate for about 5 hours was $30.
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Old Aug 4, 05, 11:26 pm
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To rent a car (20 min min), drive to Jaco and return, turn car in is a bit risky. Any delays, such as a flat tire, will cause you to miss the flight. And quite a drive for just a short time in Jaco (not that great a town).

The Club is down stairs under the fast food court. It looked very nice, but I did not use it.

The Denny's is by the rental cars and Hampton about 200 yds. from airport. Just grab a ride with rental/hotel shuttle and give driver $1 or $2. A very nice restaurant and, yes, free WiFi. Also a PC internet in the hotel - usually available.

I usually go to a small motel for about $40 and take a shower and get 3+ hr. sleep. They will pick you up and return you. (about 15 min from airport). Called Riveria.
PM me if you need info.

Get back to airport at least 1 hr. before departure to do the tax free paperwork. Usually only takes 10-15 min to process and get past security - but leave some cushion.

So, lots to do. But if you are on a red eye and do not sleep well, probably best not to drive all day on strange and not the best roads.
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Old Aug 5, 05, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by SAPMAN
But if you are on a red eye and do not sleep well, probably best not to drive all day on strange and not the best roads.
I think you are right. Any more ideas for carless ideas? I can only do so many grand slams!
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Old Aug 5, 05, 5:35 pm
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Cafe Britt - Coffee Tour
Discover the hidden secrets of coffee's lifecycle, from plantation to cup ... Cappuccino Coffee Tour: We offer our award winning Cappuccino CoffeeTour, a celebration of Costa Rican coffee and ... The Coffee Tour: Be a part of an unforgettable adventure ...www.centralamerica.com/cr/tours/cafebritt.htm

SJO lounge is nice from what I hear...do not rent a car..SJO traffic is a zoo!

Last edited by MRKEY; Aug 5, 05 at 5:38 pm
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Old Aug 5, 05, 6:19 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
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Originally Posted by MRKEY
Cafe Britt - Coffee Tour.....
...do not rent a car..SJO traffic is a zoo!
I've made two trips to CR in the past year, both times renting a car and both times driving extensively in and around San Jose. I would definately NOT charactarize SJO traffic as a "zoo". SJO traffic is fairly benign. Of course you should avoid rush hour traffic into the city and out of the city, but other than that, no worries whatsoever. Parking near the center of town is a bit of a hassle, but if you go a few streets off the main thoroughfares you will find pay lots.

While I think your traffic rhetoric is a bit overboard, the coffee tour is an excellent idea, however!
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Old Aug 6, 05, 7:49 am
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Well ZOO was a bit over the top..I have heard its a mess.but that was in 1984,,,Britt tour is killer! Thanks for the update..We are renting an airport car for 2 people.. to drive to Pacfic Coast and tour for a week..any good deals? We do have Master Card Plat for less ins, what's best? compact, jeep? and should we rent online and try to earn miles ( I never had good luck with car rentals posting) or should we just use airport rental desk?..thanks!
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Old Aug 6, 05, 9:08 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
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Ah, yes, the joys of car rental in SJO, that should be a thread in and of itself. My suggestions and comments:

Thrifty is quite close to the airport (right next to the Dennys and Hampton Inn as a matter of fact.) The desk service there, however, is not great and seems to take forever to check in/out. They didn't even have a map to give me. They forced me to take some form of extra insurance that wasn't on the online reservation, I protested, but the woman was quite insistant. When I returned to the US, I sent an email to Thrifty here and they refunded the amount. Rates were generally better at Thrifty. So some good, some not so good.

When you make a reservation, don't be fooled by the "in terminal", "off airport" terminology. They are ALL off airport. Avis is quite a drive from the airport and not entirely easy to find even though it says it's in terminal. The desk there is much more proficient however and we were in and out in a snap. However, I think the extra drive pretty much eats up any time savings as compared to Thrifty.

Cars from both places were essentially the same. I always get the cheapest car available and always end up with a 4 door manual with A/C in generally good condition. If you are just going down to the coast and not venturing well up into the mountains I do not see any need to get a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Definately just rent online, seems the rates get cheapest around 60 days out especially in the off season.
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Old Aug 6, 05, 11:30 am
  #13  
 
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Thanks for all the rental info. I wonder if there are discount codes good for SJO? I'll do a search in the Thrifty forum. BTW 60 days out isn't an option.

MIA-SJO 8/-18 through 8-25.



Update on posssible SJO sights:
-------------------------
The best part of travel, is getting lost!

Places to stay a stone throw away from San Jose, would be in Sabana its a 10 minute walk into town with lots of good restaurants, museum, shops and the biggest park around, Sabana Metropolitain park it has tennis courts, swimming pools, ponds with ducks, basket ball, football, fully equiped gymnasiums etc.

Hotels: Apartotel La Sabana, Rincon, El Sesteo has a pool, CR Tennis Club, Corobici and Casa Girasol.

From Sabana, there are tons of things to do during the day with organized tours or by public transports in the evening there are very good places to go either in San Jose, Escazu, Santa Ana all very close. Enjoy.

Last edited by MRKEY; Aug 6, 05 at 11:36 am Reason: update
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Old Aug 9, 05, 1:16 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
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Overnight

I've read the posts above, but still am unsure what to advise my sister? She and her son (14 years old) will be flying through SJO on their way to S.A. Each direction they have an overnight in SJO where they arrive 7PM to 8PM and leave 7AM to 1 PM the following day. With the time available in SJO, it is more just an eat and sleep spot--not sightseeing. What is the best place to stay/eat with regards to safety, convenience, and reliability? Is it the Riviera, Hampton/Dennys, other nearby hotels that you can walk to a restaurant at night, etc? Anyone have any recent experience? Thanks.
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Old Aug 10, 05, 10:31 am
  #15  
 
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Flight Hound,

The Hampton is best bet for a very safe, comfortable place to stay with the Denny's (a first rate casual restaurant) right next door. Hampton has a free shuttle service (only 3 minutes drive from airport). Also has free internet in lobby. Free Wi-Fi in Dennys. I think rates are in the $70 - $80 range.

Also a Marriott which is probably 4 stars, but more expensive, about 5 min drive from airport.

LaRiveria is more out in the "sticks" about 10 min or so from airport. Not too near anything and more like a B&B hotel. Great for frequent travelers that need a "day" hotel for nap and shower. They have internet, but dial up I think, and a free shuttle.

If they are there more than, I think, 12 hours - they will need to pay the airport tax when re-entering the airport. I think the "tax free" period is about 12 [edited to reflect correction to 12 hrs. per note below] hours. Need to pay at a seperate booth in check in area.

Lines for check-in can be long (45 min), but it really depends on how many flights leave in next 2+ hrs. Sometimes empty. Your sister may want (for the 1pm departure) go to airport at 9am or so, check in and get boarding passes and return to hotel for a couple of hours. Then return and head through security and to gate. With shuttle only 3 min drive, not a big deal. Tip the driver and he will likely give personal service. Airport is not a good one for waiting.

Last edited by SAPMAN; Aug 10, 05 at 11:59 am
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