Do you know the way to San Jose?

Published: July 5th 2018
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San José centre
For us the answer to this question is via Volaris, a Mexican budget airline, this being the cheapest way to make the short journey from San Salvador to the Costa Rican capital.

Despite a few glitches with their booking website and it taking a couple of goes before we successfully managed to check-in on line, generally everything with the Volaris flight goes smoothly. As we don’t have access to a printer I download the boarding passes to my tablet which works fine for all the baggage, security and boarding checks. The bag drop turns out to be one of the simplest I’ve encountered and there is zero queue, immigration is also strangely deserted, which means we are early for the flight departure. The plane departs on time and arrives early.

San Jose airport is only 20km from the city with an efficient bus service departing from the road right outside the terminal. By noon we have settled into our accommodation and are having lunch just off the main plaza watching Costa Rica play Switzerland in the World Cup group match.

We don’t plan to spend any length of time in San Jose, but as all travel paths lead

Main church San Jose
here a night or two is unavoidable. Our guidebook makes it sound chaotic and rather unappealing, though actually it seems Ok to me; the centre of the city is modern, with pedestrian-only streets, cycle-lanes and the cleanest pavements I’ve seen for a while. The downside is that there isn’t that much of interest here for visitors – the main sight we are keen on is the gold museum, which is unfortunately closed for maintenance until October. The national museum might be worth the $15 entrance, but we’ll leave this for now. In the afternoon as well as walking the centre, we look at the main church and the theatre. The tourist office is very helpful and not only has a free country map, but a timetable for all the long distance buses in Costa Rica – what a find!

In less than an afternoon I can already see why visitors come to Costa Rica. It feels civilised and noticeably different to the other countries in Central America. I notice that there are significant numbers of tourists walking the streets – even here in the not-very-touristy city.

I think we’re off to a good start in Costa Rica, so

Interior of San José church
I’m keen to see what the rest of the county has to offer.

Additional photos below
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San José main street

Theatre San Jose

Costa Rica National Museum

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