San Jose Journals

Rafting in Costa Rica

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A May 2000 trip to San Jose by barbara

The Fleur de Lys Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica More Photos
Quote: When we said we'd never been rafting on rapids before, our guide just smiled and handed us our life jackets.....

Rafting in Costa Rica

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Overview

Quote:
White water rafting was an absolute blast. Costa Rica is a beatiful, tropical paradise, and the rivers provide an excellent opportunity to explore a small section of the rain forest. The challenge of navigating those rivers is part of the fun.Quick Tips: If you go rafting, wear water shoes on your feet to give you more traction in the raft. Brush up on some common Spanish words such as bank, hotel, etc... as a lot of people in San Jose do not speak English. Go on an adventure tour that suits you with a reputable travel company so as to make the most of your time. Best Way To Get Around: We used a taxi to get to our hotel from the airport and to get around in San Jose with no pr...Read More

The Fleur de Lys

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Hotel

The Fleur de Lys Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Quote:
As the Fleur de Lys Hotel is a restored Victorian Mansion, each of the rooms has a 'homey' feel. Instead of numbers on the doors, there are the names of flowers! Despite the lack of air conditioning units, open windows and overhead fans made the temperatures quite pleasant. No air conditioning is very common in Costa Rica unless you are spending the night in some of the most expensive hotels available, and I found it did not affect how comfortable we were in our room at all. In fact I really liked the hotel we stayed in for its more intimate feel, the art in curio cabinets on the different floors, the location in San Jose''s cultural district that put us in walking distance of places to explore. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 19, 2000

The Fleur de Lys

San Jose, Costa Rica
506-222-4391

Pacuare Lodge

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Hotel

Pacuare Lodge Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Quote:
The grass thatched hut that we spent the night in was absolutely charming. The beds were like those found in hotels with clean sheets and comfortable mattresses. The bathrooms had fully functional plumbing. But there was no electricity, and only screens were between us and all the sounds of the rain forest. This proved to be romantic. There was a nice breeze, and the air did not feel hot at all. Each hut was far enough away from the others so that we felt like our privacy was preserved. It was easy to forget there were other people around us at all in the inky black of night time.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 19, 2000

Pacuare Lodge

San Jose, Costa Rica
1(800) 514-0411

Quote:
The restaurant in the Fleu De Lys had a good menu though it wasn't necessarily Costa Rican. I had Chicken Cordon Bleu! The food was pricey for Costa Rica, but the wine was good, and the waiter was charming. We ate dinner there twice on our vacation because of the convenient location and nice atmosphere. The second time we ate there we were joined by a couple with whom we had made friends, and no one minded that we stayed talking at the table long after the ice cream dessert and coffee were gone.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 19, 2000

Le Fleur De Lys Restaurant

San Jose, Costa Rica
506-222-4391

San Jose Restaurants

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Restaurant | "Random Restaurant on the Street"

Quote:
My husband and I went walking in San Jose and decided to eat in the first restaurant we saw that was busy. This was fun to do because the restaurant we chose obviously catered to locals rather than to tourists. Our waitress was a bright-eyed, middle-aged lady with very broken English. Thanks to a few Spanish words we had picked up from language classes and Taco Bell commercials, we managed to order a genuine, Costa Rican meal. We found it to be quite tasty, though high in starch, and the portions were huge. The tab was very cheap, and the service was quite snappy. I would suggest dropping into any unknown restaurant like this as part of your Costa Rican adventure!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 19, 2000

San Jose Restaurants
Throughout San Jose
San Jose, Costa Rica

Rain Forest

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Restaurant | "Candle-lit meal in the Rain Forest"

Quote:
After rafting down the Pacuare and getting settled into our hut at the Pacuare Lodging facility, we were in for a wonderful treat for dinner. The staff of Aventuras Naturales prepared an exquisite French meal for the small group spending the night in the rain forest. We ate by candlelight on the first floor of the lodge house, and we found our hosts to be extremely engaging people. The other rafters were all from various parts of the US, and, as they were all interesting, engaging people as well, we had a rousing conversation with our guides about the different pace of life found in Costa Rica, what they thought about politics, and how religion impacted the culture and world view. One of the coupl...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 19, 2000

Rain Forest

San Jose, Costa Rica

National Museum of Costa Rica

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Attraction | "Museo Nacional de Costa Rica"

National Museum of Costa Rica Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Quote:
The entry fee to the National Museum was nominal (200 Colones), and we easily walked to it from our hotel. The exhibits were interesting to look at though many of the descriptions were not written in English. There were many historical artifacts, however, that were interesting just to see, and we liked wandering through the museum looking at the various displays. We sat outside of the museum for some time in the open air enjoying a pleasant conversation about our limited knowledge of Central American Indians and Spanish Conquistadores---admiring the good view of the city---before moving on from the museum. Tip: There was a small gift store in the building that was worth a peek if you are the type...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 19, 2000

National Museum of Costa Rica
Street 17
San Jose, Costa Rica
+506 257-1433

White Water Rafting

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Attraction

White Water Rafting Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Quote:
My husband and I had never been rafting before, so we went on a rafting tour with a company called Aventuras Naturales. It was a good decision. Our guide, Yancy, was an extremely good teacher and adept rafter. There were eight people in our raft, and all of us worked under Yancy's instructions, banking to one side of the raft or the other, plunging our paddles into the rapids of class III and IV stretches of river. My heart would start thumping as we saw the gray-green waters swirling in front of us, Yancy telling us to lean to the right so as to make our raft miss a rock in our way. We would paddle like mad to get through the rapids. Then, just as quickly as we'd been plunged into a whirling de...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 19, 2000

White Water Rafting
Pacuare River
San Jose, Costa Rica

Pacuare Aventures Naturales

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Attraction | "Aventures Naturales Pacuare Rafting Tour"

Quote:
For a peaceful yet active get-away, this company has a great thing going. My husband and I had limited time for vacation. We chose Costa Rica because it was exotic, and we could center our time away around one specific activity: white water rafting. We had never done this before, and we were not disappointed that we had decided to use a company like Aventuras Naturales to take us down the Pacuare River. Not only did we have fun rafting (see rafting activity page), we enjoyed hiking in the rain forest. At one point in our rafting tour, we pulled our rafts onto the banks and were led on a hike to a splendid waterfall. We jumped into pools of cold water and reveled in how unspoiled the jungle aroun...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 19, 2000

Pacuare Aventures Naturales

San Jose, Costa Rica

Rain Forest

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Attraction | "In the Rain Forest"

Rain Forest Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Quote:
Hiking in the rain forest with Aventuras Naturales was a great adventure. After white water rafting a short distance down the Pacuare River, our small group got the opportunity to eat lunch and then go hiking in the rain forest. Other than the stories about snakes and poisonous frogs (we saw one of each of these things during our stay, and, I think, this ADDED to, rather than DETRACTED from the EXCITEMENT of the journey), making our way through the green flora and fauna to rest at a tall waterfall before swimming in a cool pool of gray water, was absolutely an incrediable experience. See Nature Tour Activity Page.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 19, 2000

Rain Forest
Rain Forest
San Jose, Costa Rica

Pacuare Aventures Naturales

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Attraction | "Horseback Riding"

Pacuare Aventures Naturales Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Quote:
We had some time to ourselves after rafting and eating lunch at the Pacuare Lodge. There were several horses that were maintained on that property. They were small, sturdy beasts that we found to be very gentle. They allowed us to ride them, though we soon discovered they would only go where THEY wanted to go. They took us up a path on a mountain---a path I would have thought too steep for them to climb. I, not being a very capable equestrian, found myself at the abject mercy of my horse as we went up that hill despite the reins I held loosely in my hands. To be honest, I believe my horse took jerkings of those useless reins as SUGGESTIONS of where we should go rather than ORDERS, and, what's mo...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 19, 2000

Pacuare Aventures Naturales

San Jose, Costa Rica

Butterfly Farm

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Attraction | "The Butterfly Farm"

Butterfly Farm Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Quote:
We made reservations the day before for a bus to take us to the Butterfly Farm. The drive took about forty minutes from San Jose, but it was interesting looking out the windows at the countryside as we passed many coffee fields on the way (You could combine a trip to the Butterfly Farm with a trip to Cafe Brit though we did not choose to do so). The Butterfly Farm itself involved a two hour long tour that I found interesting because I have always thought butterflies are beautiful, but I have never known anything about them. We went into an area where many butterflies were flying around their natural vegetation, and this was the best part of our visit. There were not hundreds of butterflies everywh...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 19, 2000

Butterfly Farm
Main Road
San Jose, Costa Rica
506-438-0400

Street Vendors

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Attraction

Quote:
The day we chose to walk around San Jose and buy a few souvenirs, we got a little side-tracked by a colorful parade marching by on the main street. None-the-less, we ended up shopping in a bazaar of street vendors with wares set up on tables under tents near the city museum. The dollar is very strong in Costa Rica, and the souvenirs were very reasonable. The hammocks were wonderfully made and a good price. I liked some of the wooden jewelry boxes that made excellent gifts for friends in the States. I also bought several pounds of Costa Rican coffee before we left San Jose. Coffee is one of Costa Rica's main exports, was very inexpensive compared to grocery stores in the US, and was a great Costa...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 19, 2000

Street Vendors
Cultural District
San Jose, Costa Rica