Day Tripper

San Jose is not Disneyworld. Now, you can take that a lot of different ways. We don’t have (a lot of) people dressed up like cartoon animals, for example. We don’t have rides, we have casinos. After you’ve seen the gold museum (yawn) and the jade museum (ditto) there’s really not a lot left. And though I live in the city, I am the first to admit that San Jose is NOT what most people think of when they picture the Costa Rica of their dreams. But even if you are stuck in San Jose, you can get OUT of San Jose for the day and see a little of what the country has to offer via day trips.

Just how ambitious you want to get will depend on how comfy you are with getting up and hitting the road early. Costa Rica is a small country, made larger by its horrible roads. Check the map:

So if you look at the little scale of miles thingees, you will notice that the beach is only about 40 miles from San Jose (as the toucan flies). Since you aren’t a toucan (neither am I) it takes longer. Since the opening of the new Autopista del Sol, travel time has been cut to (under perfect circumstances) about an hour. Among the perfect circumstances would be that you have your own vehicle, traffic is light and the road is actually OPEN and not under repair, which it is more often than not, at least in rainy season.

If you don’t have your own private wheels, the bus trip goes by the OLD highway and takes over 2 hours under ideal conditions, which means you don’t get stuck behind a cement truck (or anything else that can’t climb hills easily). Even so, you can do Jaco as a day trip. The only problem with that is the lack of things to do in Jaco during the day other than perspire. But that’s just my anti-steam-bath bias showing through.

If you’re feeling chilly, a trip to Jaco or Guapiles will warm you right up. If you are feeling hot, you can cool down by heading in the direction of the Poas volcano. There are a number of short to medium trips you can make. Most of the towns in the Mesita Central can be visited in an afternoon… Atenas, Grecia, Naranjo, Orosi, and Turrialba are a few of the places I have gone to just to get out of town for a while. When you get there, there often isn’t much to do other than people watch and have lunch, but the rides aren’t overly long and it accomplishes the prime directive: It gets you out of San Jose.

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