COSTA RICA - San Jose - 2012 - A Travel Stop

6 January 2012

This morning when I checked out of the Santa Maria Inn,  I talked to Arturo (the owner) and let him know he has a nice place and I would recommend it if people were passing through.  The place truly is a good place to stay if you have to spend a night when you arrive or depart from the airport.  It’s probably about a 15 minute ride and as long as you let the Inn know ahead of time, they’ll have a taxi waiting for you.  It is not included in the price of the room, but at least you won’t have to try and tell the driver how to get there.  Remember, while it’s on a main road, it is not in the normal hotel area.  Thus, you pay less, but you also have less.  Overall, good place.

So, I’ve again relocated to another hotel in Costa Rica.  This will be my last couple of days on this trip and I’m now staying within the city of San Jose at the Hotel Little Havana (HLH).  While the area doesn’t look all that “pleasant” it is by far not the worse place I’ve been.  If you’re looking for an all inclusive hotel for a family vacation, this ain’t it.  My room is nice, the staff (door guard, receptionist, bartender, and owner) speaks English and the food isn’t bad either.  I saw a shirt at the bar that said “I lost my virginity, but I still have the box”.  Now that right there is a good shirt.

I’ve seen a lot of reviews on this place but when I looked at the dates, they were from a few months back and as is evident around here, there has been some changes made.  The rooms are updated, the clientele is a good mix of locals and gringos and everybody seems decent.  That just goes to show, that when you read reviews, you must remember to look at the dates and I also look at where the people are from and whatever else the review says about the writer.  I’ve seen some by lawyers that all they do is bitch and moan, and within a couple of days what appears to be a laborer says the same place was great.  It all depends on what you’re looking for.  Me, I was told once I’d be “happy in a mud shack” and the more I think about that statement, the more it rings true.  But there are times, like when I’m not traveling alone; I will put comfort and security first.
Ok, so I walked around this not so pleasant looking area and found it’s just Latin America.  The streets were clean, the people friendly; I didn’t have any problems at all.  It’s just the buildings are old (welcome to Latin America) but as far as people looking like thugs on the street, I didn’t see any of that.  Now that I’ve returned to HLH and its dark outside I guess it’s time to hit the bar, have a couple of drinks and talk some shit.  So until next time, adios yo estoy vivendo “pura vida”.

7 January 2012

Well this morning I took a walk-about like I do most mornings and discovered a couple of nice parks.  They are located right across the street from each other and provide plenty of shade and seats.   On a later walk (when stuff was open), I walked throughout the pedestrian shopping area that is so popular in many Latin American countries (located on Central Avenue).  This street is closed to vehicle traffic and has shops, clubs, restaurants, and about anything else you can want.  Overall I guess the road is about a mile long; it’s patrolled by walking and bicycle police, safe, full of families, and very few panhandlers (I only saw one).   Well I made my way back after walking for about 3 hours and I’m ready for a nap and a drink.

Parque Espana; San Jose, Costa Rica

Parque, Marazan; San Jose, Costa Rica

When you travel a lot, you see a lot of things and sometimes you think or even say out loud, “now I’ve seen it all”.  Then you turn a corner in life and realize, nope, there are plenty of other whackos, interesting people, and places that I have yet to see.  That is what makes life so freakin’ fun, you see different people, places, and things as you live it.  To answer the begging question “Mike, what did you see?”  Simply put, I saw enough foreplay going on in the park to call it sex, spiked hair standing about 12 inches off the head, the typical overload of piercings (nose, lips, tongue, eyebrows),  ugly people walking arm in arm with the most beautiful people you’ll ever see, just people being themselves.  As those of you who know me, you know, I’m a guy that fully supports being who you are, no matter what others say or think.  In fact, I’m a strong believer in the thought that if a particular person doesn’t like me, fine I’ll move on with my living my life my way and you can live your life your way.  Basically, if you don’t like what I’m doing, piss off, I’m happy.  But then I also sometimes say to myself “I hope I wasn’t as obvious as they are when I was young”.  As for the few things I mentioned above, I did most of them, except I have never spiked my hair, not even on Halloween.  On some people it looks cool, but my hair won’t grow longer than about 4 inches.

Tile mural under an overpass

So, this will be my last night in Costa Rica for a while and I thought I’d be going home.  That was until this morning after I checked my email.  While I was house sitting in Atenas, I had been sending emails to prospective houses to sit in Central America.  This morning I got an email from a home owner in Panama that needs a sitter until the end of February.  I called her and we talked a bit and yep, I’m leaving Costa Rica after being here almost a month, and going to Panama for a little over a month.  It’s costing me $100 dollars to change my airline ticket.  I have the option to move into the house with the owners until they leave or set up my own accommodations.   I split the difference.  I’ve got an apartment in the center of Panama City for 8 days for a whopping $200.  No, that is not per night, that is for the whole time.  In past travels I’ve been through the area which is nice, safe, and within walking distance to everything.  But, I’ll post pictures after I get there.

With all that said, I’ll close this chapter in Costa Rica the land of “Pura Vida” and move on to a place known as “Panama, Bridge to the World, Heart of the Universe”.


  1. Thanks for your Nice Post.
    Costa Rica is an amazing destination, but tourists can have a wide range of different motivations, preferences and budgets. Costa Rica is known around the globe for its love of nature (ecotourism), warm hearted people and amazing bio-paradise. The beaches of Costa Rica are well known for their warm waters, the great waves for surfing and all the biodiversity you can find around.

  2. I agree. While this trip was to the capital city of San Jose, I invite you to check on my other CR postings. I've spent months there and the posts are under the "HOUSE SITTING POSTS" on the right side.