Where I Stayed in San José

The dorm room bed in the gigantic labyrinth-like hostel set me back $13. That works for more than two nights if you’re getting hammered every evening and you just need to pass out.  It’s also fine if you’re a heavy sleeper.  Otherwise, you may have to listen to drunks, transients and all walks of life coming in and out while you’re trying to get that elusive shut-eye.

Tip: Ask for a dorm room with the least number of beds, as it’s common to have four, six and eight bed dorm rooms in many hostels.  Less beds means less potential noise pollution caused by fellow transients.

This particular hostel has great Internet stations, which is where I lost my mouse. They also have an overpriced bar/restaurant which is great for those on a short vacation and whose mission is to meet and party with other travelers.

The hostel also shows free movies in a nice movie room every afternoon.  They also offer free coffee for a few hours in the morning.  It was tough to speak Spanish there as the staff insists on speaking English.  Although, like a few other times on this trip, I was able to speak Spanish with Argentinean travelers.

I needed to get out of the hostel, mainly because of the  dorm rooms with uncomfortable beds and rip off private rooms.($32 for a clean but stark room with a bed and no private bath.)

I walked a block back to a parallel street and found a hotel with a sign for $25 rooms.  I checked it out and took it.

It’s run by an American who can’t speak much Spanish.  He and his staff of one guy were very friendly and helpful but also too interested in selling me on San José, more nights in the hotel, and Spanish and local dance lessons at the American’s makeshift school of rented space down the road.

They have good wireless which works in the room, and a kitchen for guests to use. The owner provided a breakfast of three pancakes, two scrambled eggs with tomato and onion, and coffee.

His target client is the American who wants to speak English, eat a typical U.S. breakfast, and take Spanish and or dance lessons.  Taking Spanish lessons and staying in an English speaking hotel doesn’t correlate.

The room was shabby and the bathroom was a long hike.  I was quoted $25 for the room.  After accepting  and pulling out my wallet, I was told $28 with tax.  This was a huge turnoff.  After one night I ventured from there.

After not liking the first two accommodations, I simply drifted with my light bags all over the city.  I needed to find something for a night and then make the decision of where to travel to from San José.  Finally, after asking three TicasCosta Rican females– how to get downtown, and then following behind them as they were going that way, I saw a hotel.  For $24, I found the best value of this entire trip.

It’s got good, fast, wireless internet in the room.  It’s the cleanest and quietest I’ve had and the bed is super comfy.   It has a private bath which worked out real well for the unexpected upset stomach that caused me to stay an extra day.

They also offer free drinking water.  Water has run me around $3 a day on average in Costa Rica so this is a nice perk.  In Nicaragua it was about $1 a day when it wasn’t free in the hostel or hospedaje.

The room has TV with remote control and lots of channels (same crap as in the U.S. plus live European soccer -intense stuff-).  The strangest thing I saw was Andrew Zimmern dubbed in Spanish.  I have a very hard time watching anything dubbed as I’m spoiled by having English as my mother tongue.

The staff is pleasant and friendly.

The hotel sits in a neighborhood which is about 19 blocks from the city center.  I’ve only seen one British woman leaving the hotel; otherwise I’ve witnessed few people and have had to speak Spanish in the hotel.  The neighborhood is clean, non-touristy and rustic.

It’s tougher to speak Spanish in more touristy areas, especially when you’ve got gringo written all over your face.  Since I’m in Spanish speaking countries on this trip, I prefer Spanish over English if possible.

My hope now is to be able to rough it for a couple of nights on the cheap, then spend just a little bit more for something clean and comfy that provides a similar great value as this accommodation.

This hotel in San José is the first place on this trip that I want to wholeheartedly recommend, because I feel that everything has been perfect.  It’s called Hotel Arrecifes.


2 responses to this post.

  1. …and the more I miss mine if I think about it. On that note, tonight’s lack of sleep will be on an overnight bus, but it’ll save the cost of accomodation for a night. 🙂


  2. The more I read about your sleeping conditions the more I love my own bed. 🙂


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