Central America, Getting Lost (Travel), Uncategorized

Where to Spend One Night in San José, Costa Rica

Heading to Costa Rica through the capital city of San José? Realize that you can’t make it to your connecting destination in Costa Rica, so you now need to find a place to stay for one night? No need to worry, I’ve got it figured out for you. *This is not a sponsored post, just a post of my advice for those traveling to Costa Rica!*

That’s exactly what happened to me on my way to volunteering in Nosara, Costa Rica. I didn’t realize until two days before my flight (yay for last minute planning) that I wouldn’t be able to catch a bus or a flight on the domestic airline, Nature Air, the same day that I arrived in San José. As my first time solo traveling internationally, this was a tad frightening. I had never stayed in a hostel before, but had been wanting to as a traveler’s right of passage, so I immediately began searching for cozy hostels in San José. There’s a fair amount of hostels in that area, but many had good reviews as well as equally bad reviews. Some hostels offered to pick you up from the airport, but various travelers commented about how they were promised a ride from the airport, but their rides never came. Earlier in the day I had started emailing surf companies in Nosara, because I noticed that they provide shuttle service from the airport to Nosara, so I thought I could hitch a ride with them. But of course, they had no shuttles coming the day I arrived or the next day. Thankfully, one of the surf company owner’s (who one of my friend’s knew) recommended I stay at her favorite hotel on the outskirts of San José, called Adventure Inn.

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I kept looking for hostels, but ultimately decided to stay at Adventure Inn, despite it being approximately $100 for one night as opposed to a $10-$14 hostel stay. Here’s my rationale behind staying at Adventure Inn:

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  • As a first time solo female traveler, though quite adventurous, I ultimately wanted to consider my safety, especially with such fast decision making. A personal recommendation really provided some comfort!
  • Free shuttle service from the airport to the hotel. No need to pay $13 for a taxi (just make sure to reserve a shuttle when you book your stay). Note: My flight landed about 1.5-2 hours later than scheduled, so I thought my shuttle wouldn’t be there to pick me up. When you exit the airport, look VERY carefully at all of the people holding up transportation signs (there will be many people, trust me). And when you think you have looked enough,  keep looking!! I didn’t see my hotel name, so I thought they had left. Instead I got a taxi and when I got to the hotel, I asked for a ride reimbursement (which they say they will do if you schedule a shuttle and it’s not there for you) but apparently the shuttle had been there waiting for other people so I wasn’t able to be reimbursed…especially when the shuttle arrived outside the hotel lobby a few minutes later. But it’s all good, it was just $13, which seems a bit frustrating when you are trying to budget travel, but it’s not the end of the world.
  • Free breakfast! Any combo of ‘free’ and ‘food’ is fine with me! The breakfast consisted of fresh fruits, hard boiled eggs, some pastries, fresh fruit and veggie juices, coffee/teas as well as one item of the menu (I choose some eggs with rice and beans).
  • Pay in cash. As with many parts of the country, paying in cash is often cheaper (even using your American dollars) because of heavy credit card fees for businesses.
  • Amenities: Big pool, big TVs in the room (if you even have time to watch TV!), clean rooms, restaurant/bar with great food, and tour packages. I also thought they had a jacuzzi, but then I approached it and saw some goldfish swimming in there, so I’m pretty sure it was not a heated pool system (which is perfectly fine because it was so hot in San Jose).
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Casado meal from the restaurant. This is the typical Costa Rican dish meaning “married man.” It usually consists of chicken, black beans, plantains, rice, and a slices of cheese, but it can vary throughout the country.

Despite the additional cost, this was a nice stay for my first time in the San Jose/Alajuela area. And I got my free shuttle to the airport the next day. Saving $13 never felt so good. 🙂

Have you been to San José before? Do you have any favorite hotel recommendations? Please share in the comments below!

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