We left Manuel Antonio today on the Tracopa bus. It felt good to be on the move again, looking like a backpacker with my rucksack on my back and one on my shoulder. We travelled along the Pacific Coast road, catching glimpses of the rolling waves as we went. We arrived in San Jose at 12.30 and what a culture shock. From the relaxed lanes with swimwear and tourists, suddenly there were taxi drivers yelling at us, selling their services, almost dragging us into their vehicles. But we knew where we were headed – 10 blocks to the centre and there was Hotel Presidente in the bustling heart of the city.
It was teeming with life and people carrying on with their day; I wanted just to get to the hotel and hide. The frenetic pace was too much too suddenly and I wasn’t ready for it. It was several degrees colder in the city too and I shivered as we headed out to a nearby cafe. El Patio is a bar/restaurant/coffee shop connected to the Hotel Balmoral and it is a great place to watch the world go by.
How things change in 3 weeks since we were last there; the cultural plaza was now screened off and workmen are installing their machinery as the life that once buzzed through it is now squashed around the edges, pushed out to the sides. We considered the musuems this time, even got as far as the Gold Musuem but our enthusiasm waned, faced with the 5500 colones for entry. It’s not a huge sum of money and it is supposed to be worth visiting but sitting drinking coffee and watching San Jose below us seemed far more valuable an experience.
Once I relaxed back into the rhythms of a city, San Jose is a city worthy of discovery. There are a few sights not to miss; but I value sitting in a park and watching the world go by, as in any city. All life is there and it is too good to miss.
And on that note, we found it was time to say good-bye with great sadness to a beautiful country.
Some advice about Costa Rica
- The Pacific Coast all seems to be up for sale and you can’t help thinking that things are changing rapidly. Visit Costa Rica sooner rather than later.
- Try to take public transport where you can. It is an adventure in itself. So many people we met had hired cars and it seemed such a waste of an experience.
Pura Vida to all!