A March 2005 trip
to San Jose by ripplefan2
Quote: Pura Vida!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 9, 2007
Montezuma Bus Stop
San Jose, Costa Rica
Hotel | "Costa Rica Backpackers"
I stayed here on the nights before I headed back home and it was a blast. Costing around $15/night or so, this hostel was perfect for the adventurous traveler. With rooms over six or eight in bunk beds and a phenomenal courtyard, this place is great. I unfortunately stayed in a room with a snorer and if you have ever had one of those in your room, it sucks. But the beds were comfortable and the people were great.
Out in the courtyard, there are tons of tables set up for all of the inhabitants to freely sit down and take up conversations. There are also swings for relaxation and a pool. A full kitchen is available and a refrigerator for your food, but label it, otherwise it will go. Inside there is a TV room and a library where you can trade books. Lastly, there is a restaurant out back and the breakfast was amazing and cheap. So, while in San Jose, this place is worth the stop over. Enjoy!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 9, 2007
Costa Rica Backpackers Hostel
Avenida 6, Calle 21/23
San Jose, Costa Rica
If you are in need of a vacation away from the ordinary and into the heart of the extraordinary, Costa Rica is the place for you. With lush landscapes, friendly people and cheap prices, the ambience can’t be beat. In 2005, I headed down to Costa Rica in March for two weeks to visit some friends who were staying there for awhile. And what a place! I flew into San Jose, which is an experience all in its own. With it being the main city of Costa Rica, San Jose’s culture is completely different from the rest of the country. There is more of a business feel that one would experience in a major metropolitan area with a local culture that provides the backbone to the cities structure.
I stayed my first night in a hostel that I would not recommend to others (I can’t remember the name of that place, but it was right across the street from the market in the center of town). Although this place was cheap (about $4 a night) you really had to rough it. The whole place felt like an old warehouse that had plaster walls put up to make "bedrooms." The rooms were cold, the beds uncomfortable and the cockroaches were rampant. A place that I would recommend would be the Costa Rica’s Backpacker’s House in San Jose. This place was made for the active traveler and the prices are still on the cheaper side (about $10 a night). Here they had maps, activity guides, a pool, an outdoor garden, a recreational room, security, and a kitchen. After my first night in San Jose, I felt it was time to leave the bustling city and head to the smaller cities on the west coast. My first stop was to a city called Jaco. Jaco is a surfers paradise on the inlet area of Costa Rica’s western coast. I would not recommend more than a two night stay in Jaco because the town is different. There is a widespread, and open usage of drugs and a lot of transvestite prostitution. It is a fun bar scene for the conversations and the drinks, but not if you are looking for a singles scene.
After going for a dip in the ocean and having a barbecue that my hostel had provided, I left Jaco and headed north to Puntarenas, where I got the ferry across the water and caught a bus down to Montezuma. If you don’t want to take the long ride up to Puntarenas, you can take a speed boat across the water from Jaco to Montezuma for $60 or so. Now talk about a city! This was one place that felt like the Garden of Eden reborn in the lush tropics of Central America. Our residency for the following couple of days was in one of the hostels located at the intersection of the town near the beach (the name eludes me). This place was great at $10 a night for the two of us in a three person room with a private bath room and shower. There was also a balcony that wrapped around the entirety of the building with a bar upstairs. All that this town of Montezuma had to offer was a handful of hostels and hotels, a couple of restaurants, several bars, a library and a plethora of beaches. Our first night in Montezuma was one that was alcohol consumed that we felt reminiscent of a party at Robert Downey Jr.’s house.
At one of the centrally located bars, there was a unique layout with an atmosphere that was even stranger but definitively entertaining. When you first walk into the bar, there is a wrap around bar, then an open dance floor that had a small stage set back, some pool tables, another bar behind the tables and then a group of tables, seats, and tekkie torches placed along the water. On the stage there were two barely dressed girls dancing to reggae tone with hoards of drunken men around them forming a circle of drunken, horny energy that could have lit up a small country. I wish that I could be more descriptive about what our night entailed, but my lack of memory should be proof enough that the night was great. The next day we hiked ourselves over to the nature trails that led to amazing waterfalls. What a better way to help overcome a hangover than to lay in a pool of lukewarm water with the most crisp water falling on your head from hundreds of feet above. This was one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had the pleasure to have.
After our dip, we headed back into town to grab some lunch and a drink. All of the restaurants in Montezuma are great and the price can’t be matched. I think that the average meal was about the equivalent of $10 and the plate was more then enough. Unfortunately, we decided that even though it was midday, it was a perfect time to start our night’s worth of drinking. Our hostel was perfectly positioned between the two late night bars, so we hoped between the two all day and well into the evening. At the last part of the evening, as the bars were closing, we found some locals (Tico’s) who were liberating the beer refrigerator upstairs and we helped them out. Then, we loaded our tub with cold water, ice and beer, and wine. Sadly enough, the next day was my last in that town, so I couldn’t finish all of the refreshments. I therefore packed them up and brought them back with me to San Jose. After arriving in San Jose, I stayed at the Costa Rica Backpackers House again and actually ran into a friend of mine. Immediately, we broke into my stash of alcoholic beverages. Having this stash made us instant celebrities among the other travelers. Also, on the way to San Jose, I purchased a hand crafted guitar, so having this and the drinks, we ended up attracting almost everyone there.
We stayed up all evening almost until sunrise playing music, learning Costa Rica songs, drinking wine and whiskey, and laughing. It was an amazing night with people exchanging their war stories from their travels. Several people had been pick pocketed in the surrounding countries or in the northern Costa Rican towns. A lot of people were waiting for the US Embassy to open so they could get their new passports and leave the country. However don’t let these stories scare you, the country is beautiful and each of those people with horror stories could wait to head back to Costa Rica. So, pack your bags and head south for the time of your life. Pura Vida!
Queens, New York