Week 436 – San Jose Costa Rica and Trip Planning

Sharon and I went to Costa Rica last May.  We chose this week back in February 2022 because a) cheap airfare and b) likely the only week I knew I could get off for sure for 2022.  We did not investigate the weather situation – we would find that May is the start of the rainy season.  Which meant that the Weather App would say 100% chance of rain every day starting a week before we left.  Some people live by the Weather App, while I think it isn’t accurate enough to stress about or change trips (except when the Weather App said we would get 7 feet of snow in Tahoe – and we didn’t change our trip and we got 7 feet of snow).  It did rain every day, but generally we got at least half-a-day of sunny weather with torrential rains in the afternoon.

We had been to Costa Rica before and had gone to the beach areas of Jaco and Manual Antonio.  This trip we had a full week and decide to not try and go to too many places and to try the rainforest.  So we spend a couple of days in Arenal (inland volcano) and the rest of the time in Tamarindo (on the Pacific coast).  Roads aren’t great – total driving 360 miles and Google maps said we would average 30 mph and that was pretty accurate.  So glad we didn’t add another stop.  We stayed at a nice resort in Arenal, ended up being a good place with hot springs on site.  The AirBNB in Tamarindo worked well too.   

Google Maps Pretty Accurate on drive time

Most people stay near the airport and/or immediately leave San Jose – we decided to stay the first night and check out the city.  On the logistics side, no COVID test required, and easy to get a taxi to get to our hotel downtown.  We ended up in a Holiday Inn property relatively safe and near pedestrian areas.  Not a lot of places to eat beyond KFC and McDonalds (although I did check country 29 off the list for breakfast the next day) and went to a decent looking indoor/outdoor place and it was not good.  It wasn’t because we didn’t like Costa Rican food – it just was disappointing.

Although the Weather App said rain starting mid-morning, we woke to a cloudless blue sky and did a walking tour through town.  It was also the day of the San Jose Running Festival with a 10k and Marathon going through town, so a lot of people out and it was great.  The race started at 5am as by 9am it was 90 degrees and 90% humidity.   We finished up mid-morning and went to the The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum before taking an Uber to the rental car place and driving to Arenal.

View from our hotel – Note clouds coming over the mountain

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