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Arrival in Costa Rica

Written on: Wednesday June 1st, 2011

A journal entry from: Costa Rica 2011

Today I arrived in Costa Rica.  The journey was not too long, but it started out early, so by the end of the day I was wiped out.  This made me very glad that I decided to stay near the airport, rather than board a bus for my first real destination, which would have been another four to five hours of travelling.

Instead, I decided to stay in Alajuela, a suburb of San Jose where the airport is located.  Getting to my hostel from the airport was a breeze, as I was immediately escorted to an orange taxi, and off to the town.  After landing at 11.40 am, I was at my lodging before 12.30.  Not bad. The hostel, Hostel Maleku, is a bit south of the city center (about 10 to 15 minutes walking).  It is very nice, converted house with a kitchen, although I did not find the other travellers there to really be into conversation.

I used this first day in Alajuela to get oriented and become more comfortable in the country.  I bought a few groceries to cook myself lunch and dinner at the hostel, and found an ATM to get Colones (Costa Rican currency).  I also found the bus station and went to check out the schedule for the buses to La Fortuna.

In terms of tourist sights, Alajuela proper does not have too much to offer.  But I did go in to the city center to see several of the parks (Parque Central, Parque de los Niņos, and Parque Juan Santamaria).  I also visited a small, free museum detailing the history of William Walker, known as a ¨filibuster¨, attempting to annex Costa Rica to the USA, and the local hero Juan Santamaria who helped stop him.  The museum was adjacent to the Parque Central, which is also abutted by a modest, but nonetheless pretty cathedral.  Before heading back to my hostel, I stopped at an ice cream shop to get a granita, and spent a few minutes in the Central park soaking up the atmosphere, watching the locals enjoying the Pura Vida.