Blogs from San José, Costa Rica, Central America Caribbean


Costa Rica has been on my mind for sometime because of what I read about its eco friendly approach to tourism. In terms of natural beauty, it has stunning beaches (Caribbean Sea on one side and Pacific Ocean on the other), rainforests and dry tropical forests, an amazing bird life. A country of 6 Million people that attracts nearly 2 Million tourists every year, you get the picture. It has been a stable democracy, very safe. Lot of Indian companies run call centers here, so my take was they would have done their risk assessment before investing here It's tagline is Pura Vida which translates to Pure Life. Says a lot about its people and their attitude to life. In these Covid times, picking a country to travel also needs to take into account Covid related ... read more

A dozen years later, I have started another adventure. The world is different with the Covid pandemic, travel restrictions, transit visas and much more. But the soul of the wanderer remains intact. So I am off to backpacking across Costa Rica and Panama. The fact that I don't speak Spanish makes this even more challenging, but my first few days in San Jose have shown me that people are sweet and helpful if you try and approach them. And yes, in the changing world, there are enough technologies to help in translating. I travel older (definitely), lighter (learnt to pack better), wiser (? Who knows). Will keep posting as I go. Pura Vida!!!... read more
View of Irazu National Park

Today has gone belly up before we’re even out of bed. Our flight home, recently delayed from 6.40 to 8.40 this evening, has now been pushed back to 7 am tomorrow. So, instead of a leisurely brunch before going to to the airport to check in, we book an airport hotel for our ‘bonus’ night in Costa Rica. We toy with idea of one final sightseeing trip this morning, but rapidly lose interest. The old man settles down to crush candy, while I set up camp by the pool for one last swim/blast of sunshine. After brunch (yesterday’s leftover Chinese – who doesn’t love cold sweet & sour prawns for breakfast?) we swap hotels. There is mention in the email from British Airways that if we go to the airport (at an unspecified time, to an ... read more
The glamour of international travel.
Another morning by the pool
Another afternoon another pool

Today is the last full day of our trip and we’re going into San José for some culture. We spent a day sightseeing in the city last week, but it was a Monday when everything is closed. So today we plan to visit the museum and art gallery. We take an Uber into town and find a spot for breakfast; Restaurante el Patio del Balmoral. We order the del Patio breakfast – gallo pinto (fried rice and beans) with fried cheese, fried eggs, fried plantain and fried bread. In case that wasn’t sufficient calories, it comes with a side of sour cream! And a pint of orange juice. Once we have consumed a zillion calories, we head to the National Museum, which is housed in the former Bellavista Fort, HQ of the Costa Rican army until ... read more
Restaurante del Patio breakfast
National Museum
National Museum (Bellavista Fortress)

Today sees the first leg of our journey home. There are no direct flights from Panama to London, so this afternoon we fly back to Costa Rica. After the obligatory trip to the breakfast buffet, I blow the last of the Balboas on fridge magnets before packing and heading for the airport. A tactical error; I finished my book this morning. An error compounded by the fact that the airport wifi is limited to 30 minutes. An error further compounded by the fact that shortly after boarding commences, it stops again and the passengers who had already boarded reappear. Apparently, a member of crew has fallen ill. They promise to let us know what’s happening in 30 minutes. And so afternoon drifts into evening with alternating additional delays and gate changes. At one point vouchers are ... read more

It’s our last day in Costa Rica (for now) and as I’m feeling pretty much back to normal, we can take an Uber into town for a wander. We decide to start to the north of the city centre in Barrio Amón, which Lonely Planet informs me is a “pleasant, historical neighbourhood, home to a cluster of 19th-century coffee grower mansions. Recently many of the area’s historical buildings have been converted into hotels, cafes, bars, and offices, making this a popular district for an architectural stroll.” Our driver pulls up at our chosen location. He looks a little worried and checks that we really do want to be left here! We do, so off we set on our architectural stroll. First, we head in the opposite direction as the old man has spotted a fire station ... read more
Fire station
Barrio Amón
Barrio Amón

It’s release day and we’re going to the park. After breakfast, I put on my shoes – they feel weird – I haven’t worn shoes in a while! We catch an Uber to La Sabana park. La Sabana was San José’s original airport, but is now a park and home to the National Stadium. The former terminal building has become an art gallery. We take a stroll round the park and round off with a visit to the gallery (Museum of Costa Rican Art). I have a slight panic on entering the museum when the security guard produces a thermometer, but I pass. Its official; I’m (a) covid free and (b) not hot! The interior contains mainly pictures. The walls of what was once the VIP lounge (the Golden Room), are covered with a 150 square ... read more
La Sabana Park
La Sabana Park
La Sabana Park

Another day of isolation. The morning is sunny, so I can escape to the pool, which is totally deserted again. A couple of swims, a nap and a couple more swims take up most of the day. The final swim was a bit much, leaving me totally exhausted, despite the fact it was only 10 minutes. In addition, the sun has gone in, so I struggle to get warm again. As my step count since I got ill has been pitiably low, I decide to kill two birds with one stone and take a walk around the hotel grounds, photographing some of the stained glass windows en route. Living the covid dream! Then, it’s time for tea (with 3 nights left in Costa Rica, the old man has bought a 1.8 kg sack of rice), FaceTime ... read more
Self isolating by the pool
Casa Conde windows

Today is another fun filled day of isolation. I insisted on a room with a private balcony and ended up with a room with a dirty window overlooking the car park and a wall covered with 45 km of barbed wire. On the plus side, after 3 days of feeling absolutely terrible, I have woken up feeling heaps better. As outside appears to be deserted, and it has been a full 5 days since my first symptoms, I decide to don a mask a take a walk round the hotel grounds. It’s my first time outdoors (unless you count getting in and out of the car) since I tested positive 3 days ago. It turns out we’re staying in a quirky hotel with courtyards and fountains and stained glass windows. The best news is the pool, ... read more
Casa Conde
Casa Conde
Casa Conde

We decide to stick with our original plan to drive to San José this morning. There are several reasons for this 1) the hire car is due back; 2) we are 60 miles from the nearest hospital if either of gets ill and 3) it gives us the opportunity to book a hotel more conducive to self isolating. I’ve only been stuck in this room one day and I’m already going stir crazy! First, it’s time for breakfast – a bit of a mission when every time I swallow is excruciating. I manage a couple of fork fulls of scrambled egg and a few chunks of pineapple whilst the old man hovers, waiting for any scraps. Then it’s time for the 4 hour drive north to the capital. Instead of our original plan to spend a ... read more
Warning sign of the day
Casa Conde
Casa Conde

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