Favorite thing: Most hotels have a laundry service, but it is generally expensive, I have thus far found 2 laundromats.
Sixahola launderia: located near the corner Avenida 2 and calle 9, they do you washing for you, it costs 1000 colones per kilo. I dropped mine off at 10:30 they said it will be done by 2pm, in Costa Rica time that meant 3pm, it cost 3000 colones
Central plaza self service laundromat: Located in the plaza de culturala, Avenida 2 calle 3, Cost: 2000 colones wash and dry, extra 200 warm water, 350 hot water, 200 for soap.
there is an internet cafe next door to fill in time while you wash.
- Budget Travel
A Near Perfect Climate
Favorite thing: The weather during our visit to San Jose could not have been better. Costa Rica is a tropical country and the lowlands can be unbearably hot and humid. However, San Jose lies at an elevation of 3,772 feet in the country's Central Valley. Here the temperature remains very comfortable most of the time and locals refer to their climate as one of "eternal spring."
San Jose, and all of Costa Rica, experiences two seasons: wet and dry. The a wet season is generally from May to November and the dry season from December to April. Fortunately we were there during the dry season. Average annual precipitation for the country is 130 inches, although rainfall patterns vary from region to region. Even during the wet season the sun generally shines for a few hours each day.
San Jose Weather
Favorite thing: One of the most interesting things we saw in Costa Rica were the stone spheres. About 300 of these mysterious polished orbs have been discovered in Costa Rica beginning in the 1930s, however they are believed to have been carved between 200 BC and 1600 AD. Several examples of The stone spheres are on display at the National Museum.
The spheres come in all sizes, from a few centimeters to more than two meters in diameter. The largest weigh as much as 16 tons. Many different theories abound as to whether the stone balls are man-made or a natural phenomenon. It is the mystery or their origin that that I found most intriguing.
The Mysterious Stone Spheres of Costa Rica
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Banco Central de Costa Rica – National Bank Bldg.
Favorite thing: One of the taller and more modern buildings in San Jose, the National Bank building sits on the site from which the town of San Jose was born. Surrounded by immaculate gardens and trees, there are also sculptures to admire as you pass by. By the western wall of the bank there is a bronze sculpture of Costa Rica farming people.
Address: Avenidas Central-1 - Calles 2-4
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: The Costa Ricans do bakeries right. No two are alike and the pastries are always fresh and tasty. Let’s face it, walking around downtown San Jose is hungry work. My favorite bakery is Samuelito along Avenida Central between Calle 1 and 3.
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
Favorite thing: Lining up to access an ATM just doesn’t appeal. Fortunately, there is a cluster of six bank machines in a small shopping mall (Pasaje Plazavenida) at the extreme east end of the Avenida Central pedestrian mall at Calle 9. The downside is that there is a $5 charge per transaction. The upside is that there is no waiting, a security guard present, and money available in either colons or US dollars. The mall, and access to the machines, is only open during normal business hours 9am-6pm.
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: San Jose is a good place to visit for a couple of days. You can wear out the city easily. If you're into skate and surf gear, there are tonnes of places to go and buy cheap gear. There are tonnes of little souvenir shops with great local arts and crafts. You can always bargain with the merchants. Whether you're out eating or shopping in San Jose, there are many performers and musicians out in the square for some good entertainment.
I wouldn't suggest walking around at night for the ladies, it can get super sketchy. Cabs are very cheap if you end up out late at night.
Fondest memory: The people I met at the hostel.
attack of the green men
Fondest memory: Go figure....
This statue of green people is located outside of a very large and popular bank in SJ. There were several security guards surrounding the premises, dressed in green, looking rather similar to these statue people. Can you imagine what happened when I stopped for a second in front of the bank and ruffled through my bag to find my camera? The guards are startled and start to lift up their large guns. They looked kind of like AK-47s but I would't really know. One even preceded to point it at me and wander closer.
Traaaaaanquilo boys! It's merely a camera. I'm not going to go shoot up or bomb down your bank! Needless to say I scurried to take this shot and run far, far away.
the little things in life
Favorite thing: Something that always struck me about Costa Rica was the little, minute difference in things that would never cease to amaze me. Things that you take for granted in normal life – a pea pod like this in the photo for example. To me, pea pods and peas are green. Here in Costa Rica however, there are these red pods with black peas (or beans) inside. I am not quite sure if it is really a pea pod, but it is something out of the ordinary. This is the case with everything. Bananas will be pink, monkeys will be purple (okay, maybe not that extreme), and insects will be 20 times the size you imagine them to be. Magnificent creatures you’ve never encountered will lurk at every corner. Sometimes you feel like you’re in a story book or surrealistic fantasy world.
Like any city San Jose has its share of poverty
Favorite thing: San Jose is home to about 800,000 people and is the capital city of Costa Rica.
I generally have a good sense of direction, but I would advise against trying to navigate the streets of San Jose with your own vehicle. The central area is pretty much a grid system, but outside of centro the streets are twisty-turny and it is easy to get turned around. Additionally, it looked as though parking downtown would be a great big hassle. Sometimes it is best to fork over the money to the cabbies.
- Road Trip
Looking to centro district
Favorite thing: Like I said in the introduction, San Jose itself is not striking. It is a functional capital city, but the buildings are drab. Lots of buses. Lots of trucks. Lots of asphalt. Lots of diesel fumes. Not exactly a holiday atmosphere. I don't wish to disparage the place, for we found no crime (despite plenty of warnings) or abject poverty (though you can see from my barrio tip that there are poor quarters). I guess my overall reaction is: eh, well there you have it, buses, people and government buildings.
- Road Trip
Favorite thing: A reminder that Costa Rica was once a Spanish colony. The country was "discovered" in 1502 by Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage to the New World. Unlike Guatemala and Mexico to the north, the area that is now Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited at the time. Spain governed Costa Rica as a colonial possession until 1823. Costa Rica gained independence from Spain at the same time as other Central American Spanish colonies. Independence was granted without war and without official bloodshed.
- Historical Travel
One of the many small parks that dot San Jose
Favorite thing: Every block or two in downtown San Jose there is a a small park with a small monument. Presumably, these little parks honor great deeds of heroism in Costa Rica's more bloody past, before they abolished the army and became the American Switzerland.
This photo shows Parque Morazan which is scant on grass and long on pavement. It is close to the Jade Museum. The domed structure is a band pavilion.
- Theater Travel
Favorite thing: Mesoamerica is a great school if you want to learn Spanish in San Jose. It's located just outside of the city in San Pedro and is accessible by the Sabanilla bus and La Periferica.
There is a web page (www.mesoamericaonline.net) which details other information.
I had four weeks of classes and I was in a one-on-one tutorial for two weeks and had one other student for the other weeks. It was great. The teachers are amazing and really pay attention to you.
La directora is Linda Holland. The number in Costa Rica is: 253-3195. Everyone speaks Spanish and English fluently.
- Study Abroad
Try the coffee!
Favorite thing: Costa Rica is one of the top 5 coffee producers in the world. They export several types of cofee depending on the geographical market (US, Latin America, Europe) and the are where it was cultivated (that raised in the higher mountain has a stronger taste than the crops of the lower mountain).
That's why a visit to any of the coffee plantations around San José is mandatory!
Many of the tours include a visit to any of them. One of the most popular in internal market is Cafe Britt's (you can get it at any restaurant of grocery store) but for export the coffee of Tres Generaciones' plantation is one of the most demanded.
Fondest memory: I have already ran out of Tres Generaciones coffee. My favorite one was the Italian roast - yeah, much stronger than the French roast.
- Farm Stay
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