San Jose, Costa Rica

Old Jul 17th, 2007, 01:19 PM
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San Jose, Costa Rica

I am in the beginning stages of planning a week long trip to Costa Rica (over Thanksgiving). We will be flying into San Jose. As we will be arriving in the evening we will need to stay the night in San Jose --- actually two nights, first and last. Is the airport closer to downtown San Jose or is it better to stay in Alajuela? Any recommendations of where and what hotels would be greatly appreciated....Thanks


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Old Jul 17th, 2007, 05:42 PM
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What type of accomodations are you looking for? Budget, moderate, lux? The airport is in Alejuela and about 5 minutes away is Hotel Villa Bonita. A nice colonial home operated by (and lived in) the most friendly Tico owners. The rooms are fairly spacious, but basic. Nice, comfortably furnished common areas with television, books, games. $55/night includes breakfast.
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Old Jul 17th, 2007, 05:52 PM
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We spent a night at Grano de Oro - it's about 20 minutes from the airport and built in an old mansion; it had excellent service and has a really good restaurant on site. Our room was around a hundred dollars.
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Old Jul 18th, 2007, 05:36 AM
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If you want a posh, over-the-top experience, we also stayed a night at the Peace Lodge - about an hour from the airport, set up in the hills with pretty views; they have 5 gorgeous waterfalls on site that you can hike to; rooms are quite decadent there.
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Old Jul 18th, 2007, 01:30 PM
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I know there is the Garden Court Hotel with shuttle,free breakfast 5 minutes from the airport.I paid 118.00usd per nite for one.The airport is in Alajuela,they have website too. Or check the airline website for reccommendations.
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Old Jul 18th, 2007, 01:57 PM
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Sorry, the hotel has website,I don't know of the website for the airport in SanJose,but it is big.I was going to stay at Sleep Inn or QualityInn ,but was told these are in more dangerous areas?
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Old Jul 18th, 2007, 05:42 PM
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I would stay in Alejuela -- it's closer to the airport and you avoid the downtown hassle. Trapp Family Inn is lovely -- pretty new hotel, very close to the airport, owned by the same family that has Trapp Lodge in Monteverde.

Sandy
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Old Jul 18th, 2007, 06:00 PM
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We stayed in Grano de Oro in 2001 and it was lovely. If you want the chance to sample central San Jose this is a good choice.

When we went in February this year we stayed at Bougainvillea in Alajuela. It to was nice in a more modern sort of way. It has very nice grounds. There is a Saturday market within a 20 minutes walk. Otherwise the area is largely residential.
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 07:01 AM
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Thank you all very much, this helps. I think we will look at some of the places suggested in Alajuela. On another note, is San Jose even worth seeing? My husband and I are outdoor enthusiasts but we also enjoy museums, and the culture that the city has to offer --- would one day be enough?
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 07:12 AM
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There's a gold museum, jade museum, and National Theater if those interest you.
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 03:29 PM
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I would say that if you already are spending two of your seven nights in San Jose, it is time to get out of Dodge! I always have a good time in downtown San Jose. Sometimes business or my itinerary forces me to spend a night here. But I usually don't add an extra night just for the heck of it. The rest of the country has so much to offer.

If you are getting in late and leaving early, you might consider staying out by the airport.

I am not a huge fan of the Garden Court. It is close to the airport, and has a free shuttle. But it ain't nothing special. It used to be a Hampton Inn, and was not as nice as the Hampton Inns here in the US. I think it is pricey for what is offered. No restaurant either.

My wife and I really like the Orquideas Inn. It doesn't have a free shuttle, but the rooms are cheaper and their transportation is only ten bucks. The restaurant is good, and the bar is friendly.

Then get up early and get going. This will leave you five nights, which should be adequate for two more locations.

One last word. If you should decide to spend a night closer to downtown, then I agree about the Grano de Oro. It is a wonderful little hotel, with a restaurant that would stand up here in New Orleans. Very unique.

Hope this helps! Let me know if I can offer more advice.

Warm Regards,
Pat Hewitt
(Travel professional)
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 04:13 PM
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I agree with Pat - I would limit your time in San Jose. When you pull out of the airport you'll see Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, etc. and see lots of bars on the windows - the rest of the country is amazing, so I'd limit time in SJ.
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 06:22 PM
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I always stay at Orquideas Inn and cant say enough good things about them. It's reason enough to stay there for the poolside breakfasts in the mornings. Their shuttle service is $10 but you could also take a taxi from the airport for about $5
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Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 01:00 PM
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Melia Cariari is very nice. They have 24-hr. security who watch out for everyone. It is a beautiful property with lots of lush landscaping and even a small casino. It is about a 7-10 minute ($10-$12) cab ride from SJO. We stayed there our first night in CR and we were very impressed. We paid a reasonable price for our room because it was part of a vacation package, but I'm guessing their standard room rate is probably fairly expensive but if you want to feel secure, it may work well for you. The free breakfast they give you is quite elaborate. It would probably cost between $30-$40 in my area - Portland, Oregon. My boyfriend tried to talk me into staying at Melia when we go back at Thanksgiving but the Alajuela area isn't a good pick up location for rafting, so we are staying in downtown San Jose again. It's dirty and crowded but we research things we want to see and fun places to eat so we enjoy our time there. You might want to have a English speaking driver (arrange thru your hotel for safety) drive you thru the city with your driver pointing out all the attractions. There are various locations worth seeing, even if you don't actually tour the museums. There are lots of other fun things in the area too, but you will only be 15 minutes from town so you might want to see it for yourself. Drivers will wait for you while you go have a meal or take a tour so most anything goes. Get a Fodor's guide book on Costa Rica - it will help you narrow down what you want to see and do.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 10:07 AM
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I agree that the Garden Court is expensive,the free breakfast is at Denny's next door,maybe incovenient too. The reason I am at the Garden Court is location and that is where the Homestay said they would be picking me up.
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