Tuesday, 2nd September 2014
With the bus from Monteverde leaving at 6:30am we were up early and made the walk to the bus station which included a stupidly steep hill. This wash’ helped by the fact that I had developed a mild fever and had aches. Nothing serious, just awkward timing. Once aboard, the bus offered little leg room as usual but was not a fridge this time so you win some, lose some. The journey back down the roads towards the main highway to San Jose was spectacular. This really is beautiful countryside up here.
We arrived in San Jose around 10:30am and were met by the usual gaggle of taxi drivers offering rides. They don’t really have addresses as such here in Costa Rica, just ‘next to the …, opposite the …’ and so on. This is the address for our hostel (firstly in Spanish):
“detrás del Parque de San Pedro, en la callecita que le da la vuelta, contiguo a la Municipalidad de Montes de Oca, casa blanca, portones grises, con dos rótulos que dicen Hostel Urbano”
“behind the San Pedro Park, in the alley that goes around, adjacent to the Town Hall of Montes de Oca, white house, gray gates, with two signs that say Urban Hostel”
We handed the driver a but of paper with this written on it and he assured us he would use the meter in his cab. This he did but alas it was a dodgy meter which quickly rose up to around 15,000 colones, over US$20. The numbers on the display would decrease a little, then increase a lot and so on. I’m not sure how he thought this would work as anyone watching the meter would cotton on pretty quickly what was going on. The hostel had warned us of taxi scams however and we knew what the fare should be. When I asked him about his meter he quickly turned it off and we settled on a price of 6,000 colones for the trip, I think actually saving us some money in the end. Once I had pointed out about the meter he clearly wanted to get rid of us quickly, I think scared that we might try to tell a policeman. Luckily, we had already come to the hostel so weren’t left stranded.
San Jose is a bustling place and we are staying in a place called ‘Hostel Urbano’ near to the university. There are loads of students walking around and bookshops, restaurants, cafes and bars. We had some lunch at a place on the recommendation of the hostel receptionist and had the Costa Rican staple of rice and beans with meat and plantain (Casado). We then went back to the hostel for a sleep. We are so exhausted after so many early mornings and not sleeping that well so had a few hours sleep in the afternoon. We then sorted out our taxi for tomorrow, booked through the hostel to ensure an honest driver and then had some dinner at a place on a strip apparently well-known for it’s restaurants. We could only find two however but it was nice. We then retired to bed to watch a movie and eat a Snickers bar – a little bit of luxury.