San Jose, Costa Rica isn’t my favorite city. Nor will it ever be. It, to my knowledge, hardly represents what people go to Costa Rica to see. It lacks the luster of the rain forest downtown, it goes without the wildlife–it stands without the peacefulness. It is, instead, dirtier than I wish and filled with taxi drivers who scam you into paying $60 for a two block ride (this did happen to me and at the end of the day, you have to make a choice between paying an ungodly amount for a taxi ride and taking the risk of getting kidnapped or shot. I decided to fork over my money and grunt about it over beers the rest of the afternoon).
But whether or not you’re charmed by San Jose is usually irrelevant. It’s irrelevant because chances are you’ll have to stop in San Jose if you go to Costa Rica no matter what. San Jose is Costa Rica’s hub. It is the home of their main airport. On my way to Playa Nicuesa, which is located at the bottom of the country near the Panama border, I decided to stop in San Jose for a couple of nights, for a couple of reasons. Reason #1: I didn’t want to go to Costa Rica for the first time without being able to come back to the states with my own opinion of the country’s largest city. Reason #2: I didn’t want to waste any of my precious days in the rain forest being jet-lagged. Instead, I opted to sleep away 14 hours of my first day in Costa Rica in San Jose.
Despite my underwhelmed feelings for the city, I was so lucky to have picked two welcoming hotels, both with filling complimentary breakfasts, for my two nights in San Jose.
Hotel Rincon De San Jose presents much more on the inside than you’d suspect when looking at the hotel from the outside. The musty white exterior does the inner winding paths, completed with tropical plants galore, zero justice. The staff are friendly, the beds are comfortable, and the shower water is warm. For under $60, this place is a perfect spot for crashing without taking any chances.
Kekoldi Hotel, right down the street from Hotel Rincon (or $60 away if you get scammed by a taxi driver like I did), offers comfort and a bright atmosphere. The outdoor garden is beautiful and perfect for an afternoon siesta (or afternoon beers designed to help you ease your PTSD). The staff are welcoming and I’d absolutely stay in the hotel again.
When I took off from San Jose to Golfito, in one of the coolest airplanes I have ever been on thanks to Nature Air, I had some contemplating to do.
I was sorry to have the not-so-thrilled feelings about San Jose that I had. I was not sorry, however, to have spent my two nights there in two steal-of-a-deal, perfectly comfortable hotels.
By: Elizabeth Seward