Tour downtown San Jose / early exit Costa Rica resulted from two different needs. First, we needed to get Sandy to the airport for her return flight to San Diego, California that left early in the morning. Second, since Jan and I were only given 30-day visas, we had to leave Costa Rica earlier than planned. Our original plan was to stay until the end of August, and we had rented the cabin for the whole month. Our rental in Granada, Nicaragua didn’t start until the first of September, so the shorter visa left us with more arrangements to make. Not to worry, when one door closes, other doors open. We would use the extra days in Nicaragua to see some places that we had wanted to visit for a long time.
Tour to Downtown San Jose
“Can we be dropped at the airport after the tour?” we wanted to know.
“Of course, that’s no problem,” responded Cesar. “What time is her flight?”
“Well, we are going to stay overnight at a hotel nearby, because Sandy flies home early the next day,” we said.
“I can drop you at your hotel, then, and I can come get you the next day.”
Sandy studies Spanish in college, and had seen a video of the Mercado Central or central market in downtown San Jose and wanted to see it. And, we needed to get her to the airport for her flight home, so we worked it out with Cesar this way.
Cesar dropped us off near the National Theater in central park in downtown San Jose, and said he would pick us up in one and one-half hours. Sandy had studied the area map, so we set off across the park toward the streets beyond. On the way, we passed a man feeding a crowd of pigeons and some interesting structures in the park. Once we reached the nearby streets, we had to watch the traffic that was quite heavy in the city. We walked a few blocks, but landmarks were hard to find, so we turned right and went several more blocks through a neighborhood park before turning right again.
A coffee shop we came to looked inviting, and we stopped to rest and consider. After walking a few more blocks, we came to the Mall formed by preventing traffic from using the street. Walking in the Mall was easier than on the street, except where it crossed busy streets. The Mall seemed to be pretty busy with lots of people walking or sitting along the way. Then we spotted the Mercado Central across the street. The market was packed with shops that sold almost anything imaginable and some things we hadn’t thought of. Here too, there were lots of people, and since Mothers Day was the next weekend in Costa Rica, lots of people were buying flowers.
We exited the Mercado Central and noted that Cesar would be to pick us up in about one-half hour. We looked for landmarks to tell us which way to go, and we spotted a recognizable church. We thought we knew the way, but after several blocks we realized that things just weren’t right. Finally, some policemen, one of whom spoke English showed us the way back to the National Theater. We got there with minutes to spare, and Cesar pulled up for us right on time.
On our way out of downtown San Jose, we stopped at the boutique hotel, Grano de Oro for lunch. The building was originally the home of one of San Jose’s early prominent citizens. Most of the original home was preserved and other parts were added to convert it into the boutique hotel it is today. We were ushered to a table near the back. The decor, furnishings, and construction looked just like the original home, but Cesar said the restaurant had been added during the conversion. Lunch was very good and lived up to the quality of the hotel.
Cesar dropped us at our Holiday Inn Express Hotel across from the San Jose International Airport. We dealt with emails, while Jan and Sandy went swimming. Later, we enjoyed chicken at a RostiPollo nearby. Then, early to bed for our early morning trip to the airport to see Sandy off.
Early Exit From Costa Rica
After Sandy went home, we had another week in our cabin in San Ramon, Costa Rica. We developed a routine that included computer work, breakfast, and personal hygiene in the morning. Around 11 am, we walked along the Pan American Highway to a restaurant for lunch with that long climb back up the driveway at the end. More computer work in the afternoon, dinner and TV in the evenings, and bed between 9 and 10 pm, usually with the accompaniment of a rain storm.
One of the highlights of our last week, was a visit and lunch with Paul and Gloria Yeatman, who live just a few miles from Las Cabinas. They are the reason we rented here. We heard them tell of their four years at the cabins at the conference we attended in Playa del Carmen, Mexico in May. Paul and Gloria write a monthly newsletter called Retire For Less in Costa Rica, which provides useful information for expats about living in Costa Rica. We greatly enjoyed our visit and lunch with the Yeatmans!
Cesar dropped us and our luggage at the Best Western Irazu where we spent our last night in Costa Rica before flying to Nicaragua. Our flight on Nature Air, left at 6:30 am, so we asked for a 3:30 wake up call. This gave us time to go to the Denny’s next door for breakfast, pack, and get ready to go by taxi to the Pavas Airport. Pavas is an international airport that is also in San Jose with flights to Nicaragua and Panama, but only handles smaller aircraft. We found a taxi in front of the hotel and got to the airport about 4:30. Except for the guard, there was no one there, and no one showed up until 5:00. We were first in line, and after paying for our extra luggage and weight, we were good to go.
Next Time: Nicaragua and Our visit to Gran Pacifica.