We started and ended our Costa Rica adventures in San Jose.
We stayed at the homey La Dehesa Inn in San Joaquin de Flores neighborhood of Heredia, 10 kilometers north of San Jose.
I muddled my way through two grocery stores, trying to figure out the currency and what the staff were asking me. Those instances alone increased my resolve to learn Spanish, never mind the trips into smaller villages or towns like El Tigre and Siquerres. I love languages and I wanted to be able to say more than please (por favor), thank you (gracias), and the all-important, where is the bathroom (donde esta el bano).
San Jose is a city of about 300,000 in the Central Valley. We saw very little of the capital, only what we could see from the windows of our private coach. We drove through neighborhoods of squat concrete block homes behind tall metal fences. One thing became clear quickly: American corporations had infiltrated the city. The routes we took in and out of the city often passed by fast food chains on nearly every block.
On our last night in Costa Rica we drove partway up Poas Volcano (which erupted just this past April) and enjoyed a delicious steak-and-potatoes supper at Restaurante Mirador del Valle in Alajuela. The restaurant overlooked a twinkly San Jose to its southeast.
We spent the last day looking for gifts for loved ones and making our way to the airport via one last fabulous lunch at an off-the-beaten-path restaurant.
Photo credit: David Ingram