Home away from home in Costa Rica
If you are flying into Costa Rica, chances are good you will be arriving in Alajuela. It is the town where the San Jose airport is actually located. For many visitors there is no need to venture into the big city of San Jose itself, There are many hotels and inns near the airport in Alajuela as well as many car rental agencies. There is no need to travel the 20-30 minutes into San Jose if you intend to go to the Pacific coast or north to Arenal/Monteverde or Guanacaste areas. San Jose can be a bit intimidating for first time visitors to Costa Rica and if you are not interested in the city itself, why put yourself through the aggrevation and strain of it? If you intend to take a public bus to many places in Costa Rica, you will most likely have to go to one of the two big bus terminals in San Jose though. Be especially watchful for pickpockets if you do. Friendly persons wishing to lend you a hand may have ulterior motives.
The airport is located right along side of the Transamerica Highway. This makes it very easy to rent a car and "get outta Dodge", so to speak, without any heavy traffic problems. Enterprise car rental in particular is easy to locate and will put you on the Transam heading north with just a couple of turns, couldnt be easier.
Alajuela has a nice little town square with a few interesting shops/restaurants clustered about it. It is also a great place to serve as a base for day trips to surrounding points of interest such as Sarchi/Grecia area, Paos Volcano, coffee plantation/coop tours and La Paz Waterfall (highly over rated and expensive by Costa Rica standards in our opinion).