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2016 Mar by Franklin Murillo
Flew into SJO airport on Delta Airlines. We would spend four nights at the hostel Pangea in the city center. We had breakfast in the Central Market San Jose (since 1880) at Soda Tapia (since 1893) and dinner at Chelles (since 1909). One of the reasons for going to San Jose was to see the English band Iron Maiden play in concert. I enjoy having my coffee at the National Theatre café (since 1897). We went back to the central market to enjoy vanilla custard dessert at La Sorbetera de Lola Mora (since 1901). After our visit we flew on Nature Air to Managua Nicaragua.|
Arrived SJO airport on Lacsa Airlines. I was visiting family members and enjoying the city. Visited the San Jose old train station (since 1903), now they are using metro trains brought in from Spain. Finally they are adding more and more train service due to the heavy car traffic that San Jose is experiencing. Stayed three nights with family members and three nights at the Gran Hotel Costa Rica (since 1930). The Central Market San Jose (since 1880) is my favorite place to go eat. We also ate at Chelles restaurant (since 1909). Flew back to LAX airport on Taca Airlines.
From Nicaragua I took Nicabus from Penas Blancas border to San Jose. We spent two nights at the Gran Hotel (since 1930) in downtown San Jose, a perfect location across from the National Theatre. We walked over to the Central Market which opened in 1880 but found out its not open on Sundays. I finally got to see a show at the theatre after all these years of going there. After staying a couple of nights we flew back to LAX airport on American Airlines through DFW airport.
I departed LAX on TACA airlines and flew into SJO airport. For this trip I flew down to see Metallica in concert, then flew to Panama to see them again.
Since I have family here I usually visit once a year. The most popular destination for tourist in all of Central America. You cannot go wrong with a vacation here, with all the beaches, forests, great coffee, volcanoes, river rafting and friendly people. We went to eat at a restaurant that specializes in corn, La Casona del Maiz and ate some great food. This place is very popular and is filled with families enjoying this specialty.
After visiting for 3 days I flew to Panama on TACA airlines.
We crossed the border at Penas Blancas Nicaragua into Costa Rica. Since there was 10 of us on this part of trip I rented a van at the border. Our first stop was at El Bramadero restaurant in Liberia. This steak house is a favorite of mine and we usually stop to eat here before continuing on our way. We spent two nights in Arenal, where we went to the San Carlos venado caves, Arenal volcano, hot springs, and white water rafting. After these fun two days we drove to San Jose to see some family members. Then I departed to Mexico DF on Mexican Airlines to continue my vacation.
We took TicaBus from Rivas Nicaragua and crossed at the border at Penas Blancas. I meet my family in Liberia and then drove to Arenal. On this trip we went to the Venado caves and went white water rafting. Plenty of adventures in this part of the country.
Bought an inexpensive ticket on TACA airlines
to San Jose. I stayed at the Marriot hotel in
San Antonio de Belen near the airport. We went
to the butterfly farm and got to see the Easter procession which seemed like all the locals came out to watch. Drove to Arenal which is one of my favorite places to visit, then afterwards we took
the bus to Esteli Nicaragua.
Arrived by Ticabus from San Juan del Sur Nicaragua crossing the border at Penas Blancas.
Meet up with my father in Liberia and spent the night at the Four Seasons Papagayo resort. The resort is beautiful but way overpriced by Costa Rican standards, I much prefer staying at local small family run hotels. We drove along the coast and stayed in Tamarindo then continued to the capital San Jose.
When I go to the capital I always visit the Central Market which opened in 1880. There are many restaurants to enjoy the local cuisine at very reasonable price. My final night was spent at the Marriott San Jose, a beautiful spanish colonial style hotel near the airport. I took Lacsa Airlines non stop back to LAX airport.
I was traveling in Peru and had a flight on Lacsa airlines from LIM to SJO. I stopped by in Costa Rica to visit family after my two weeks traveling in South America. My father and I drove to my favorite place which is La Fortuna de San Carlos.
This is where the active Arenal volcano is located.
My friend and I flew on Continental Airlines to San Jose. Our flight was fogged in so we had to layover in Panama for one night. My favorite place to visit is San Carlos La Fortuna. On this vacation we went to the waterfalls, Cavernas el Venado, Rincon de La Vieja and actually watched the La Vieja volcano erupt. Luckily we were a few miles away. When we returned to San Jose we visited the cafe Britt coffeetour and the Poas volcano. I also spent a couple of nights at Punta Leona beach resort before flying back to LAX on Continental Airlines.
Stayed with family in San Antonio de Belen. Visited National museum, National theatre, Turtle island, Volcano Arenal, Punta Leona, Butterfly farm, and an ox-cart factory.
Stayed with family in San Antonio de Belen. Went to Jaco beach, Rincon de la Vieja, and Manuel Antonio.
Enjoying San Jose and stayed with family.
Vistited family members in San Antonio de Belen.
2010 Feb by Alfredo Fournier-Beeche
It has been sixty years (1948-2008) since my first time I left my Country, Costa Rica: My grandfather on mother's side (who lived with us) had to be rushed to the Oeshner Clinic in New Orleans to be operated, at the end of 1947. After being operated, my mother took him to convalesce in California, where they were given hospitality by fellow Costa Ricans, the Flores family. When he was ready to return, they took a banana boat of the Great White Fleet to Puerto Armuelles, the Panamanian banana port on the Pacific. My father decided that my twin sister and I should go with him to meet our grandfather and mother. He had to obtain passports and travel cards for Panama for both of us. Off we went! The plane, a Lacsa Airlines DC 3, landed in Parrita and Palmar Sur, without much to mention, except the emotions involved with flying for a couple 11 year old twins who wanted to see outside the windows of the low flying plane, who had not seen their mother and grandfather for almost three months. But between Palmar Sur and Golfito the right propeller started to spew smoke. My twin and I mentioned the situation to our father, who became very worried, but put on a very good show of restraint and only mentioned the smoke as a matter of course to the flight attendant. Moments later, the pilot, a seasoned long time flyer and 1948 Costa Rican Civil War veteran, turned the plane back to Palmar Sur, with only one engine on. We did land without any trouble but he explained to my father that he would not have been able to land in Golfito because he did not have the power to land going around the hills of the Golfito airfield. Then he went to fix the airplane, cursing against Lacsa! And, lo and behold, he fixed whatever was the trouble, called the passengers back into the plane, flew to Golfito and to Puerto Armuelles. We met my mother and Grandfather and flew to San Josè. The plane was well fixed. Probably the cursing helped! |
NOW TO PRESENT DATE: Costa Rica has become a tourist must world wide. We receive about two million and a half tourist per year, from all parts of the world, but mainly from Canada, The United States, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom. The main attractions in San Josè, the Capital, are the National Theater, built in 1897, site of the National Symphony Orchestra and where the top artist have perfomed, including old time masters such as Arthur Rubistein, Yehudi Menuhen, Alejandro Ulloa, and many more; the National Museum with its pre-Columbian artifacts and history of the country; and the gold collection of the Central Bank of Costa Rica. From San Josè you can be at sea level at the beach or at 4000 meters (12,000 feet) at the mountain in two hours by car. You can look down into the crater of an active volcano and not be in danger. Ambiance at the beaches used to be rustic, at best. Now the ambiance is cosmopolitan, but keeping the Costa Rican flavor. Ecotourism is the emphasis, since Costa Rica has about twenty six percent of its territory under some kind of ecological or conservationist regime. Now you can go to beach or mountain and enjoy, with world standard confort and not damage the environment. Such is the case of Hotel El Establo, in the highlands of Monteverde. There you find canopy tours many meters high on the tree tops, trails in the forest, excellent food, luxury and fun in the mountain. For several decades, Costa Rica has been waiting for the construction of the Carretera a Caldera, a highway from San José to the Pacific coast. Now the highway is being built and it will not only expedite commerce with our neighbors and the rest of world through Port of Caldera, but will make the resorts of the Pacific more reachable for tourist travelers. The closest beaches will be less than one hour from San Josè and the international airport. Puntarenas, the port on the Pacific, is where the cruise ships dock and the municipality is doing a good effort to make it better, including a line of more than thirty sculptures by national artists on the Paseo de los Turistas. Hotel Construction has been intense and apartment building turned in Aparthotel facilities has been flourishing. Such is the case of Jaco, the very popular tourist beach town, where large resorts are being built for the benefit of the sophisticated and upper level traveler. One of the best and better designed resorts is about to be finished is Sonesta Jacò Resort: fourteen stories and the normal resort facilities and, most outstanding, a Jacuzzi in each of the balconies of each of the apartments. It is amazing the comfort and beauty of the sunset from the Jacuzzi! It is a unique feeling that will surely make it one of the preferred resorts of the region. In Jacò you will also find the Amapola hotel, with a very good Italian restaurant a decent prices, although not at the beach. Tamarindo is also undergoing much construction and has the Barcelò Playa Langosta all included hotel, which is fun and good in the medium price range. Quepos has many good hotels and restaurants, including the new Arenas del Mar Hotel, with two beaches and good food. On the Caribbean side, there are two zones to mention: north of Port Limòn, the canals that go to Matina, Parismina Tortuguero and Colorado and all the way to Nicaragua, with excellent beaches and the best possible fresh water fishing for tarpon and snook. There are no large hotels or resorts but good fishing cottages that provide tackle, boat and everything you may require for fishing. South of Port Limòn is the Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Punta Cocles and Manzanillo, where you find still better beaches, lots of small hotels and modest but excellent restaurants. Ambiance here is very liberal and carefree; many Europeans and North Americans live here their tropical dream. La Fortuna and Lake Arenal are another point of interest in the Northwest of Costa Rica: From La Fortuna you can see the eruptions in the active Arenal Volcano and bathe in the scalding hot water coming down from it. Arenal man-made lake is very nice and small nice hotels are being made on the lakeside. The lake is excellent for windsurfing, especially during the months of December through March. In the future I will update as the highway to Caldera is finished, scheduled for July 2010.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2009: I was today in Nicoya, a lazy tropical America town in the center of the Province of Guanacaste and crossroads to many good beaches, like Samara, Carrillo, Punta Islita, Nosara, Guiones, etc. But I especially want to mention the Church of San Blas: The Parrish of Nicoya was established in 1522, thirty years after El Gran Almirante, Christopher Columbus, discovered the Americas, and twenty years after he came to Costa Rica. The construction was made in 1644, as a Minor Basilica, and dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. But the church suffered big damage in an earthquake in 1822 and was repaired by 1831. The church has some antique statues of Christ, the Holy Virgin Mary and Saints of much beauty, most of them brought from Ecuador, Nicaragua and other places, dating to the seventeenth and eighteen centuries. It is well worth the admiration of the traveler.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2010: The new highway from San José to Caldera has been built. It took 32 years, since it was first planned! It does cut the travel time in half. Those travelers that have been to Costa Rica must remember the winding roads to Jacò, Puntarenas and Guanacaste, full of huge trucks and buses. Not any more. My only doubt is whether the three roads that did the same service will now be deserted and everybody will turn to the new one and collapse it… I took the road to go to Arenal Lake, where I spent four days. Although I had gone through there before, I found a very interesting ambiance, consisting mainly of people who like wind surfing and kite surfing, which is very nice because of the strong winds that pass from the Caribbean to the Pacific side of Costa Rica. The views from the shores of the lake are all beautiful and good, nice little hotels and restaurants have sprung up. Even a quite wild discotheque, I am told. It is well worth a visit and stay for some days. I met a British gentleman from near Oxford who is planning on retiring there. Remember that Costa Rica is very popular among retirees.
I will welcome and answer any request of information or opinion in regard to travel to Costa Rica. I will also welcome phone call when a fellow MTP traveler comes to my country. The most that you risk is a cup of good Costa Rican coffee. I buy.
2007 Dec by Leo Koolhoven
In 2007 I made a trip to Central America as a start of my trip in Latin America.|
Costa Rica is almost more an holiday resort for the USA than a real Central American country, but the fact that they don't have a army makes it a sympathetic country.
I made some dives at Playas del Coco, made a Canopy Tour in La Fortuna and stayed some days in San José, the capital of Costa Rica.
2007 Mar by J. Stephen Conn
Karen and I made a cruiseship stop at Puerto Limon, Costa Rica in Marh 27, 2007, aboard the MV Zenith, Celebrity Cruise Lines. Only having one day in Costa Rica, but wanting to see as much of the country as possible, we took a bus tour to the capital city of San Jose. The long trip to San Jose and back gave us the opportunity to see much of the beautiful Costa Rican countryside, including a glimpse of many villages, mountains, rivers and Brauilo Carrillo National Park. |
2007 Mar by Gunnar Dahlberg
- Saturday, March 03, 2007 -
I went to the ATM in Costa Rica and it spat out US Dollars! They say Costa Rica is the safest country to visit in Central America but just last week a group of Carnival Cruise folk on an excursion were held up by three armed men, one with a gun and two with knifes. A 70 year retiree using self defense tactics he learned in the US military charged the man with the gun and ended up killing him with his bare hands as the other two banditos ran for their lives! |
2005 Sep by Jesse Vista
Well I am here in San Hose it’s the capital of Costa Rica. At the airport I changed some $$$ and got the good rate then I took a public bus into town (50 cents), on the bus I started to ask one guy some questions and I ended up renting a room from him at his house for $25 a week ... |
Its great, a new house, the bad thing is its about 30 minutes by bus to the center of town but it only cost 25 cents to get there. If I go by taxi it cost $4. So when I go home late at night from they clubs and bars I will be using the more expensive means of transportation....
So far every thing is very cheap and I am starting to get to know the town...
If I find a better place I might move but his place is really nice and clean and safe, so that's it for now....
I have seen the Capital and it is not a tourist place, quite boring.
I am on my way to Limon it’s on the Caribbean cost of Costa Rica.
So where was I, I was leaving San hose to go to the Carnival in Limon, I will pick up from there.
Well I got side tracked and took a 2 hour bus to Cariari, there I changed to another bus for an hour ride and then to a boat ride for an hour through the canals that took me to Tortuguero which is a nation park where Turtles lay there eggs at night and is protected by the government.
I saw baby turtles running to the water at sunrise. I stayed there for 2 nights and then took a 4 hour boat ride through canals of the jungle to Limon which like I said before is on the Caribbean side of CR. When I got there the carnival was going to last for a whole week and I showed up on the 1st day so I decided to take off and return later on that week the 15Th of the month was suppose to be the best day for Carnival. So I went to Puerto Viejo about a 1 and half hour bus ride further south, stayed there for 3 nights lots of tourist there and lots of American students learning in CR. I got bored quick so I decided to take a trip into Panama. I went to a group of Islands called Bocas Del Toro; I stayed on 2 different islands there and for 3 nights then came back to CR again. Went to a small town called Cahuita and stayed for 4 nights it also had a national park, I used that town as a place to jump into Limon and see the Carnival. Today I am in a place called Fortuna its in the mountains in the central north west of CR and its where the only active Volcano in CR is I can see the smoke from my window..
This afternoon I was hanging out in a waterfall...
To get to the waterfall I hitched hike a ride and an American guy who has lived here for 5 and a half years picked me up, he is 1 of those guys that lived in a communion in Hawaii has dread locks till his knees and now he lives in the jungle here with his woman, on some land they bought, well anyways he invited me to his place tomorrow and I went there. I stayed with him for 30 hours or so it was my 1st time in my life taking a shit out in the jungle, he gave me a shovel and some toilet paper and said dig a hole near 1 of his banana trees and take care of my business.. The shit looked different too because he is a vegetarian so for the last day that's all I eat... after that he took me back to La Fortuna and I stayed 1 more night.. Then to Santa Elena and Moteverde which is a cloud forest in the mountains it always was raining there, I stayed for 3 nights got there by hitch hiking again, 3 cars picked me up to the boat ride and then a mini van ride all for free, I have my ways. Here I went on a Canopy tour. That's flying on cables through the forest the longest was 600 meters long, there were 15 cables, also repelling down 10 meters and there was a Tarzan swing too, 12 meters down, your heart stops for a second or so and then you realize your still alive.
Next Morning, Monday I took a bus at 6am to Puntarenas still on the main land I took a ferry to Paquera which is on the Pacific peninsula of CR, then a bus too Montezuma I arrived at 2pm had lunch walked around checking out hotels and just hated the place, a shit hole so I headed out, on the 4pm bus to Cobano, which I passed through earlier. when I got there I asked around for a good place they told me that Sta. Teresa and Malpais were good, so I hiked a ride there in the back of a pick up truck, got there at night and I found a place, stayed for 2 nights, it was a surf town. It was my 1st time to see 12 blonds male and female's sitting at different tables at the restaurant. I was eating there off course they where tourist. Because of the strong rains on the Pacific side some roads were closed so I had to go back to go a head. So at 7 am the next day I was back on the bus to Paquera to take the ferry to Puntarenas where I had to wait for 2 hours to take another Ferry back to the peninsula but just a bit more west of where I was earlier, that was Naranjo, I waited with the locals for the bus that took me to Nicoya a change of bus and I was heading too Samara, where I stayed for 4 nights it was a beach town, Roman was the owner of the hotel, a real nice guy, I took a ride with him 2 days later to check out some other towns. Big Halloween Party on the 29Th in Samara. But next day I had that feeling to move on again, so Sunday was my traveling day again 3 bus transfers later I am at La Cruz a border town with Nicaragua where I slept last night and today Monday Oct 31st I am heading into Nicaragua.
2001 Jan by Aatto Häkkinen
We left Finland an chartter flight to Costa Rica Liberia International Airport. During our two weeks holiday we saw several terrainfire even near our hotel. |
2000 Aug by Michael Novins
August 2000 -- I began my trip in San Jose, where I stayed at Britannia Hotel, constructed as a private home in 1910 (http://www.hbritannia.com//), and had dinner at Balcón de Europa, established in 1909 and the oldest in the city. In San Jose, I visited the Museo de Jade Marco Fidel Tristán. From San Jose, I took a bus to Monteverde, where I stayed at the Monteverde Lodge & Gardens (http://www.costaricaexpeditions.com/Lodging/monteverde/), visited the Monteverde Biological Cloud Forest Reserve (where I saw a quetzal) and went on a zipline through the rainforest canopy. |
1998 Feb by Chris Lewis
Left San Jose early evening headed for The Monteverde Rainforest. On the way stopped at some hot springs. Lazed in the hot spa and all the stress of the last few days drained away. We left tired and light-headed from the steam and finally hit our beds after mid-night.|
'SKY WALK is a combination of suspension bridges and platforms built in the cloud forest, that offers an opportunity to explore the forest canopy in a safe and easy manner. SKY WALK allows a vision of the forest from a different perspective which starts with a walk on the ground through the forest, and takes you up to explore the tops of the trees.'
Personally I found it too sterile and US tourist orientated. I spent the afternoon walking around the forest floor on my own. Enjoyed having some time to myself and along the way saw the 'Elusive resplendent Quetzal', woodpeckers, humming birds and lots of other brightly coloured birds.
1987 Apr by Veikko Huhtala*
On the way from Mexico to Bolivia we stopped in Costa Rica also. We flew from Managua to San Jose by Aeronica. At that time we did not use ground transport at all, but only airplane. I think that Costa Rica is one of the best countries for tourists in Central America, at least after two days in Nicaragua it was as paradise. It was pity that we had no time to stay there longer. San Jose is not located on the seaside, but in inland, almost in the middle of country. After one night sleeping at the hotel we continued our trip to Panama City by TACA Airlines. |
1983 Apr by Jorge Sanchez
Most of the tourists to Costa Rica head to Parque Nacional Tortuguero, but very few bother to visit the less well known Parque Nacional Cahuita, near Puerto Limon, in the Atlantic coast, covering 14 kilometres of beach and coral, in the way to Panama. |
In Cahuita there are monkeys, mapachines (raccoons), bears beekeepers, and other animals so rare that you have never seen them before, even in the documentary films in the TV, plus exuberant vegetation.
If you make friendship with the porters of the park they will allow you to spend the night in the coralline beach.
From Cahuita you can enter Panama through a very exotic and exciting area that I took and strongly advise you: from Manzanillo you cross the border until Almirante, then to Bocas del Toro, and further you continue by boat to Colon and the Darien Gap. ............. ................... Many years later I traveled again to Costa Rica, but this time I did not leave the country through Bocas del Toro and the north of Panama, but through the clasical way, the road Panamericana. The Nicaragua Immigration agents stamped my passport and without any question let me proceed to Costa Rica. But in Costa Rica the Immigration agents stopped all the travelers and asked them many questions. There was a long line of people with the passports in their hands filling documents and showing tickets out of the country, and even money. Costa Rica and Panama have not joined the Central America countries agreement (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua) for the free circulation of people within its borders. Costa Rica is considered the Switzerland of Central America because is much richer than its neighbors, and they control the illegal immigrants. Since I already had experience of the difficulties to cross that border from a previous journey 25 years before, I had prepared in an internet café in Managua a virtual airplane ticket Panama – Madrid. Of course, I had not bought it, but only made a booking. In the Costa Rica border did not check if it was authentic or not. The agents had a look at it, gently asked me some “mordida” (I refused to pay them anything) and let me proceed into the country...................... SAN JOSE: San José is a peaceful Central America capital, and very safe. I stayed there during two days in my way to the Darien Jungle. I had been in the past, 30 years earlier, but I practically did not remember anything. I visited again the cathedral and was surprised to see a statue devoted to the Polish Pope John Paul II. People are very religious in Costa Rica. The visit that I most loved was the one that I made to the Mercado Central occupying a whole block. It was the older of Costa Rica, founded in 1880. Today is considered a Cultural and Historical Patrimony of Costa Rica by the Government. Inside you can find all kinds of handicrafts and also food in its over 200 shops and stalls. I could have for lunch a typical Costa Rica dish called Gallo Pinto. Since in the country side people still travel on traditional means of transport, in that market there were many stalls selling items for riding horses. The third day I left Costa Rica and entered Panama.