We arrived in Costa Rica as the sun gently retired for the day allowing the cold to replace the warm air.
The San Jose airport sits in a valley over 1100 meters above sea level and is about 30 minutes from our hotel in the centre.
For those unsure where Costa Rica is in the world, just think of Central America. Between North and South America sits the Panama Canal. Between Panama and Nicaragua going North is Costa Rica.
It’s bordered by the Pacific on the West and the Caribbean Sea on the East coast.
Our driver Henry welcomed us and made us feel at ease as we headed into the city.
The hotel entrance is located on what feels like a side street with a very small car park/unloading area, with a carefully choreographed switching of vehicles coming in and out.
The hotel lobby is located on the first floor. It has a rustic feel and remnants of a clothing factory given the sewing machines, steel beams and industrial influence, but it works.
The lift was controlled by the key card we were given and wifi access was easy and fast.
Our room on arrival, an upgrade from a standard room, was somewhat bland but spacious. By contrast our friends had a standard room that was warm and welcoming.
On our return at the end of the trip we were moved to the floor below and were very pleasantly surprised by a spacious well-presented room with a large king-sized bed, crisp linen and a nice bathroom with a jacuzzi and shower.
Our first evening was spent eating on the terrace wrapped in blankets overlooking San Jose. The staff are just delightful, the food creative and colourful.
After a great night’s rest, our body clocks woke us for an early breakfast prior to a walking tour.
Breakfast included delicious fresh fruits and offered Costa Rican standard rice, beans and coffee in addition to banana bread, pancakes, cheese and eggs.
This morning we enjoyed a private walking tour around San Jose City and learnt about it’s culture and food.
Our personal guide was friendly, relaxed and talkative.
San Jose is a small capital, full of details and history, that can be easily visited by walking. The Art Decó and neoclassical buildings that discreetly impose themselves as jewels inherited from visionary coffee growers can be found around this eclectic mix of old and new structures.
This is a city that contains the history of a very young society reflected in its parks, museums, theaters, art galleries and diverse corners. Costa Rican society says it is built on four foundations being peace, health, environment and education.
I can tell you from what I heard and saw that these foundations really are there.
Costa Rica has no army; it believes in peace. I had the unfortunate need for a doctor who spoke of her passion to care for people. The country is covered in thick lush and green forests full of wildlife and protected by law. And finally, we saw lots of schools with happy children dressed proudly in their uniforms.
Founded in 1880, the Central Market has preserved it’s essence and is one of the best examples of the Costa Rican culture and society. The market was within walking distance of the hotel and was brimming with colour, unfamiliar fruits and vegetables.
Our first day was interesting, but our adventure with nature was about to begin.
If you’re interested to know more about the President Hotel, San Jose, Costa Rica then try visiting their website here. They are really friendly people.