San Jose Journals

Costa Rica Road Trip

An October 2002 trip to San Jose by smokeysf

Arenal Observatory Lodge Photo, La Fortuna, Costa Rica More Photos
Quote: This 3-week trip was our first time to Central America. We drove in a big circle with no reservations and had an amazing time. Costa Ricans were friendly, and outside of San Jose, there was no begging.

Arenal Observatory Lodge

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Hotel

Arenal Observatory Lodge Photo, La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Quote:
These were great accomodations. The swimming pool was a wonderful way to spend the day. There were aslo loads of hiking trails available. We arrived without reservations, but we were traveling in the low season. I wouldn't recommend arriving during a busy season without reservations or without calling to make them because the road is long and slow. Upon arrival, however, we were very suprised and very happy with our choice. Our huge picture window looked out onto the volocano, and we were right off of the swimming pool. The grounds were very well kept, and there were a variety of birds to be viewed from the comfort of your air-conditioned room. We hiked to some w...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 10, 2004

Arenal Observatory Lodge
Arenal Volcano National Park
La Fortuna, Costa Rica
+506 692-2070

Selva Verde Lodge

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Hotel

Selva Verde Lodge Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Quote:
This is a direct 2-hour drive from San Jose, but we stopped one night at Poas first. There are 12 individual lodges built up on stilts with 40 double rooms. It is a pod-like structure with four rooms per pod and long, elevated, and covered walkways between pods. There are also five bungalows that sleep four guests each. Each room has a balcony and hammock to enjoy the natural sounds of the forest and frequent rain storms. Rooms were spartan but adequate. Each had its own bath. The grounds are partially landscaped and had natural rainforest. Usually it is a stop for large tour groups and small conferences, but we stopped in and there were only five or six other famil...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 18, 2004

Selva Verde Lodge

San Jose, Costa Rica
(506) 433-6800

Quote:
We booked this hotel before we arrived, as it was our first night in Costa Rica. We were very happy with the facilities.

It was a small hotel, with about 8-13 rooms on two levels. Very clean and the breakfast was very good. It was centrally located and we could walk to everything we wanted to see in San Jose.

There was a nice garden in the back where you could enjoy your breakfast or coffee, tea and beer. The hotel was very colorful, and it was a great set of young people staying here.

The staff was also very helpful and friendly.

We stayed here 2 nights.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 18, 2004

Hotel Kekoldi

San Jose, Costa Rica
223-3244

Vista Atenas Posada

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Hotel

Vista Atenas Posada Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Quote:
This was a small lodge that had some very basic cabins. It was one the closest lodges to the entrance to the volcano (5km) and cost $15 for two persons including breakfast. The beds were not comfortable, and the room was not very nice, but it was clean and certainly worth the $7.50 per person. The restaurant sat on the edge of a hill with sweeping views of the valley below. We were the only guests, and the owner did not speak much English, but we had a wonderful conversation in what we could manage. Neither of us were discouraged and eventually we had a good idea of her family, situation and dreams. This was a very good find. Plus, we got into the volc...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 18, 2004

Vista Atenas Posada
Poas Volcano
San Jose, Costa Rica
4464272

Selva Verde Lodge

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Attraction | "Horseback Riding"

Selva Verde Lodge Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Quote:
We had heard horror stories of how some horses were treated badly and were undernourished, so we warily booked this trip, in complete readiness to cancel if we found the horses were not treated well upon delivery. The front desk called us when the horses were ready, and upon showing up, we were a little surprised. I was expecting a good-size horse, but these were very short and stocky horses. They were not undernourished, but my feet were only 2 feet off the ground when I got on. We took a trail that went up on the outside of the primary forest. Our guide didn’t speak English, so we had to make do with the little Spanish we knew. We did OK, but if you don’t know any Spanish, you will...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 18, 2004

Selva Verde Lodge

San Jose, Costa Rica

Sarapiqui - Boat Tour

Attraction | "Boat Tour of the Sarapiqui"

Sarapiqui - Boat Tour Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Quote:
This was a big multi-seater boat like you've seen in the canals in Amsterdam or on the Tom Sawyer ride at Disneyland.

My partner and I were the only two on the boat. Our guide spoke some English, and with our Spanish, we had a good time and got a lot of information.

We went for about 45 minutes downstream, got out and yelled at the monkeys, then got back in and went back upstream.

We saw a lot of animals we never would have seen had we not had the guide.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 18, 2004

Sarapiqui - Boat Tour
Selva Verde Lodge
San Jose, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano

Attraction | "Guided Tour of Arenal Volcano Area"

Arenal Volcano Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Quote:
This was my favorite hike of the trip. The guide spoke perfect English and knew many interesting facts to keep the hike interesting. We left from the main lodge and drove down to the entrance of the park. We hiked about 45 minutes in thick rainforest along a heavily wooded path. The hike was very easy and level except for a couple of places you had to climb. All in all, it was not a strenuous hike. At places along the route, the guide would point out a tree, bush, insect or other feature and give a detailed description of it. He also carried a spotting scope to point out features in the canopy. After the 45-minute hike, we got to a clearing where the volcano could be viewe...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 18, 2004

Arenal Volcano
Near La Fortuna, 90 miles NW of San Jose
Alajuela Province, Costa Rica

About the Writer

smokeysf

smokeysf
San Francisco, California