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Published: December 2nd 2017
This year, on my birthday, I decided to go to Costa Rica.
26 percent of the total territory of Costa Rica is occupied by national parks, and I wanted to see everything in 14 days. A distinctive feature of my travels - I do not drive a car and therefore can count only on public transport and I had to re-read a lot of information to prepare for the trip and would like to share the result of this unforgettable journey.
San Jose journey
I flew early in the morning from JFK with a transfer to Orlando and at one o'clock in the afternoon I landed at San Jose International Airport Juan Santamaria
Nearby there is a busy highway linking the capital, but you need to have the Colons in cash to pay the fare. Therefore, having received the luggage, I went to change money. My advice is to change dollars 5, but not more, because ATMs take a large commission. Even at the airport at the Servicio al Turista, you can take a map of the city and ask all the questions of interest. Travel to San Jose
by bus costs $ 1. Still very important, do not bother searching
for small money - the driver will give you change. The bus stop is just around the corner and there are always people on it.
As air conditioners in the bus are open windows, the buses themselves are not bad, but the seats are extremely compact. All this is compensated by breathtaking beauties outside the window. In less than 30 minutes I saw San Jose.
On the way to Monteverde
In the city, I was only going to spend the night and go to the cloudy forest of Monteverde
in the early morning. So I chose a hostel in the city center (at booking.com). Unfortunately, my phone decided not to work in Costa Rica and so I had to navigate without the help of GPS.
I want to note that the sidewalks there are very narrow, and rather deep ditches separate the roadway and the pavement and this makes it very difficult to move with a suitcase.
With the help of the map, I found my hostel Hostel Gran Imperial. It is located on the main and busiest street - Avenida Central
, next to the local Mercado Central market
. The hostel is quite nice, clean and empty - it seemed to me that I was the only visitor. It was explained by the fact that the end of May is already the beginning of the rainy season and at that time the number of tourists is sharply reduced. I took myself a separate room, it was without windows, but with a very comfortable bed. The lack of windows proved to be a huge plus. Even at night in the street, it was quite noisy.
Quickly throwing things, I first went to buy a bus ticket to Monteverde
, find out the schedule and find a stop.
20 bus stations are serving different directions of the city. And I want to note that in Costa Rica an excellent, cheap, comfortable and reliable bus service, you can also choose at times more expensive shuttles, which will take you from the doorstep of the hotel. Before Monteverde, I was getting on just with the help of public transport and in the next post I will write in more detail.
Thus, my first acquaintance with San Jose began with a search for a bus stop. There were two addresses on the internet and I had to walk enough before I found the right one.
I like to buy souvenirs and not having bought presents to myself and friends, I just can not calmly look around the sights. So I went to Mercado Central - the central market located in a big yellow building on Avenida Central
I like such markets very much and have visited similar places many times in Philadelphia, Seattle, Atlanta, Toronto and now San Jose. This is the place of selling products, flowers, souvenirs and there are a lot of small cafes, in one of which I had lunch and I was impressed by the size of the dishes of Costa Rican cuisine.
What to eat in Costa Rica?
The national cuisine of Costa Rica
, like all the countries of Central America, was formed on the traditions of the Indian and Spanish peoples. The basis of many dishes here are beans, mainly presented with beans, as well as a lot of rice, vegetables, meat. In the culinary traditions of Costa Rica, there is a slight difference from the cuisine of neighboring countries. The food here is not used in the dish itself but is served on the table in the form of separate sauces and the dishes are very fresh, so they gave me some hot sauce.
Throughout the whole Avenida Central met the public gardens with monuments dedicated, probably worthy citizens of Costa Rica and decorated with the national flag of Costa Rica
Attractions of San Jose
Unfortunately, I did not have time to visit any museum, nor Museo del Oro
', where there is an extensive collection of gold objects and ceramics of the pre-Columbian era, nor the Museo del Jade
in which jewelry from Jade is exhibited.
Passing past Parque Merced square in the center, I saw one of the mysterious prehistoric stone balls. I'm not averse to seeing all sorts of obscenities about UFOs and other nonsense, where I first learned about them. These ideal spheres were found in the jungle and who and why they were left with a mystery.
Walking in the center of San Jose I saw a huge amount of McDonald's
and other American snacks, but not a single Starbucks
cup from which I quote for my collection. A quick search on Google confirmed my fears - all five coffee houses are located in the financially safe suburbs of San Jose, in which it would be problematic to get by public transport, and even so. It also houses the main stadium of the country, so I went there. In short, Starbucks I found - so my first day in Costa Rica ended extremely happily.
Some information about the country
Residents of Costa Rica call themselves "Ticos
" - a mixed ethnic group consisting of descendants of Spanish emigrants of immigrants - Creoles, but there are immigrants from other countries of Europe, Asia or Africa.
The very name of the state of Costa Rica is translated from Spanish as a "rich coast" and due to the inexpensive - come here, Columbus saw so much gold on the local Indians, and naively decided that the country has inexhaustible gold-bearing veins. Unfortunately, the Spaniards did not find any gold, but the name remained.
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