how to spend a day in san jose, costa rica.

so i wasn’t kidding when i tell you that we really booked this trip on a whim. and it wasn’t until after we booked our one-way ticket to san jose, costa rica that we started dabbling in research on where to go and what to do. it was about 24 hours past our airline cancellation option that i realized we probably booked the least attractive flight and airport option (but it was cheap!). i dwelled for a solid 48 hours and then decided to make the best of it and re-route us to see more country than we probably would have otherwise.

after flight delays and a midnight arrival, our central american adventure began in a tiny capital city called san jose. we woke up, ate our free breakfast (my psycho-for-free-breakfast-when-traveling husband is back in action) and decided to look up what to do. when the Top Things To Do list included things like, “relax (#13), look at a miniature statue that kinda looks like anne frank (#19), cemetarios (#18), watch pedestrians walk” (#5 i’m not kidding) and views (#20)” or another blog post titled, “what to do when stuck in san jose,” or nomadic matt’s intro sentence, “san jose isn’t that great…” we realized three nights was probably too long and quickly got to shifting our reso. but for the full day we were in the city, we got creative and really enjoyed it. but one full day was enough.

here’s what we did.

HOME BASE
we spent two nights at the Hotel Aranjuez in the super darling Barrio Amon outside of the city center. View on Trip Advisor. we loved all the little cafes and tons of street artwork in the neighborhood. the hotel itself is super quaint and boutiquey but for some reason we got shoved in the overflow “apartmentos” tower across the street. no biggie to us, but if you’re staying – be sure to confirm you’re in the main hotel. to d’s credit, this particular free breakfast buffet was super legit.

what to do in san jose costa rica> the apartmentos <

what to do in san jose costa rica> a super artistic neighborhood <
what to do in san jose costa rica> this was my landmark for knowing where our turn was <
what to do in san jose costa rica
what to do in san jose costa rica> teeny tiny neighborhood cafe <
what to do in san jose costa rica

SAW
glad i had my sneakers on because we trekked the city alllll day. as per usual, we didn’t go into any of the recommended tourist spots (jade museum, national theater, gold museum) but rather just cruised around, went into shops to check out the local goods, sat in parks when we needed a break, and of course, we ate.

what to do in san jose costa rica what to do in san jose costa rica> the whole city is very european influenced with lots of open public spaces < 

what to do in san jose costa rica > the national theater <what to do in san jose costa rica what to do in san jose costa rica what to do in san jose costa rica what to do in san jose costa rica what to do in san jose costa rica what to do in san jose costa rica> water break <
what to do in san jose costa rica what to do in san jose costa rica
what to do in san jose costa rica
what to do in san jose costa rica

 

ATE
shocker, this was some of our favorite time. we did follow the advice of every travel blogger and headed to the Central Mercado for some comida tipical (typical local food), and it was a trip! super fun experience and muy authentico. it’s basically a giant swap meet of vendors, food stalls, butchers and handicrafts crammed into a maze. at each of the food stalls there are ladies yelling at you to come sit down and eat there because their food is better (in spanish, of course). so we landed at Cristal (fancy) did the whole, point to something on the menu and i ended up with fried pollo with french fries and danny had the very traditional pot-luck-on-a-plate looking meal: carne, rice, beans, pasta noodles, pickled veggies, plantanes, chips (it was actually really tasty) and we asked our waitress for her bebida favorita (favorite drink) and we may have got punked because a neon green frothy situation came out and everyone was looking and giggling at the gringos.

for our mid-day snack we got in line with a zillion locals for ice cream at helado POPS.

for dinner, we landed at a super rad (new) spot that was clearly a new local favorite, particularly the ladies. Alma de Amon is a South American style restaurant with awesome pop-art featuring latin american icons. we had the shrimp ceviche with grilled pineapple and coconut creame, carmianoles, tacos de pescado and a variety of delish drinks. and we just so happened to be sitting next to a 70-year-old couple from tucson who was back to costa rica for their second time telling us all kinds of stories and giving us tips for getting tossed out of the raft on class IV river rapids and three day jungle treks. more energy & adventure in them then us!

what to do in san jose costa rica> our lady kept saying the same phrase over and over again in spanish! that’s d sitting on his stool. the guy who sat to my left got the most agressive banana split for lunch <

what to do in san jose costa rica> danny’s dish <

what to do in san jose costa rica
what to do in san jose costa rica> me and my POPS helado <

adios, san jose!

1 Comment

  • Reply December 4, 2015

    Erica Newton

    You make me laugh out loud!! The green drinks!! The potluck in a plate! So funny! Ps Danny, I like your Pacific Northwest forest hat! Blended in with the background in the photo!

Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.

Leave a Reply to Erica Newton Cancel reply