Monday, April 2, 2007

Best Western San Jose downtown- Lots of options for places to stay in Costa Rica -part one

Just some thoughts on where to stay during your visit to Costa Rica.

Thinking back on our last visit to San Jose, some people thought we were crazy to stay downtown. Now I would admit, for some less travelled tourists, this would not be the best option. But on the other hand, if you have an open mind and are accustomed to big cities and noise, this is the perfect place to be for a short stay in the capitol before heading out to your other destinations in Costa Rica.

Let me explain. Downtown San Jose is very loud, dirty, and not particularly safe at night. The reason you would want to stay downtown is for convenience to the museums, theater, and Central Market (which is highly recommended). Also, there are numerous restaurants, casinos (if you are into that), and great shopping all downtown. The key is take a taxi in the evening which will only cost you $2 at most. You can safely walk downtown during the day but always remember that pickpockets are prevalent so leave your wallet in your safe at the hotel and only carry enough cash for what you need to spend for that day. You can always go back to the hotel for more cash or stop at an ATM if necessary but you really don't want to be a target if you can help it. Wear older clothing and no jewellery and you won't stand out as much (but you WILL still stand out).

We stayed at the Best Western this March. The hotel is located a few blocks north of the Central Market. This made for a short walk but is NOT an area for the faint of heart. The entire area was surrounded by drug dealers and prostitutes at night (but we had no problems walking during the day). Best Western did a good job of secluding the hotel so if you only got in and out of taxis you would never come in contact with these people. The hotel did have several security people on duty around the perimeter so even having a car in the lot was okay because there was a huge fence surrounding the lot which was guarded during the day and locked at night.

These are photos I took from our 5th floor room at the Best Western. As you can see, the neighborhood is not great but the pool is nice. We paid $60 a night for the room which included a great breakfast, two free drinks every night, and free airport shuttle. The staff was great and I would consider staying there again.

Stay tuned for more info about staying in Costa Rica. I will also try to get ALL of my hotel reviews up on Trip Advisor soon.

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