Exploring San José

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I woke up and, for the first time in two years, I realized I didn’t have to rush.

Sure, I was wrapped into a sleeping bag, on the bottom bed of an eight-bed dorm with seven other strangers packed like sardines in a tiny room, but this didn’t matter.

I had time.

I felt like I had been given a bottomless cup of the best hot chocolate ever—I could savour every sip. I had time, freedom and I could organize the day the way I wanted.

It put a huge smile on my face.

I walked out the room and headed to the terrace where I had a smoke, a café and two slices of bread. I chatted with other travelers and I gathered travel info to pick where I would go next.

There is no central bus station in San José, each company has its own station so I walked across town to find Empresa Alfaro and buy my ticket to Sámara for the following day.

San José is a hub—at the hostel, half of the people had just flown in and half of them were flying back home but no one wanted to spend time in San José’s chaotic capital. I could have rushed out as well and leave in the morning but I figured I may as well spend the day soak up the atmosphere, relax and plan my trip a bit. No rush, right?

My bus ticket in hand, I treated myself to a local breakfast of gallo pinto (rice and bean) and walked down the pedestrian Avenida Central. This main avenue is jammed pack with people but at least you won’t get run over by one of the city buses.

I explored the barrio chino, Costa Rica’s tiny Chinatown, and the many plazas and parques Parque Morazán by my hostel (with a lot of hippies juggling fire torches), Plaza de la Democracia (with office people eating ice cream) and Plaza de la Cultura (with kids chasing pigeons).

San José is actually fairly compact and easy to navigate and after a couple of hours, you get used to sketchy-looking streets—that’s just the way the city is. The biggest dangers are the traffic and the potholes. At every street corner, city buses make sharp turns and sudden stops and you’d better run to cross the street. I wonder why locals bother taking the bus at all—lineups to board are long and buses get stuck in the traffic, anyway. Walking is probably faster!

Eventually, I ended up at the Mall San Pedro, a small mall across the city that we had explored with Feng. I caught a movie (Actividad Paranormal: Los Marcados) and rested my feet in the theatre with air-con.

Next step: traveling!

You can see the complete set of Costa Rica on Flickr.

Costa Rican License Plate

Costa Rican License Plate

Parque Morazán

Parque Morazán

Plaza de la Cultura

Plaza de la Cultura

Avenida Central

Avenida Central

Calle 14

Calle 14

Calle 14

Calle 14

Plaza de la Cultura

Plaza de la Cultura

Plaza de la Cultura

Plaza de la Cultura

Every Time I Think, I Create

Every Time I Think, I Create

Calle 9

Calle 9

Avenida Central

Avenida Central

Buses in San José

Buses in San José

Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Soledad

Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Soledad

Barrio Chino

Barrio Chino

God is Gay

God is Gay

Roofs of San José

Roofs of San José

Avenida Central

Avenida Central

I Voted

I Voted

Avenida Central

Avenida Central

Phone Booths

Phone Booths

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

5 Comments

  1. Near the Par­que Morazán there are two places you DO NOT WANT to be near at: Hotel del Rey and Key Largo. You don’t want your husband to be there. Gringos go there looking for sex and other things.

    The traditional “Red Zone” for locals is at the North-West of San José, however, farther the Parada de la Coca-Cola. There are some bus stops to other cities in that area. Be careful.

  2. Pingback: Well, Hello, 21st Century! | Correr Es Mi Destino

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