Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America








My third trip to Costa Rica was another short one. It was an interesting time to be in Central America since the World Cup was going on. I've never been much of a fan of futbol but it was fun to be around it. I watched Brazil lose to France in the center of town on a giant screen outdoor TV with about 3000 soccer fanatics. For those of you who don't know much about soccer Brazil is kind of like the Pittsburgh Steelers of the soccer world. People either LOVE them or HATE them. When Brazil lost I saw people sobbing and others dancing with joy. It was quite an experience. Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera that day because I didn't think it would be a great idea to be walking around with a $500 camera since thieves love captive crowds.

I did things a little differently this trip as I didn't stay in a hotel. I rented an apartment in a suburb of San Jose called Calle Blancos. I lived pretty much like a local for the week. I went grocery shopping at the local tiendas and used the bus as my main mode of transportation. On one of my bus rides into town I met Junieth. She's helping me with my Spanish and I'm helping her with her English.



Local Church

Junieth

Hare Krishna's


I was wandering around town one day when out of nowhere appeared a merry band of Hare Krishna's. I wasn't even aware that Hare Krishna's still existed but it appears they are alive and well in Costa Rica. They were singing, chanting and pretty much having a grand old time. The fat guy with the beard playing the guitar appeared to be their leader. I'm not sure what all the symbols mean like the giant spoon and the guy on stilts but it was a sight to behold.

Hare Krishna's

Hare Krishna's

Hare Krishna's

Hare Krishna's

Hare Krishna's

Hare Krishna's


The VistaLinda apartments don't look like much from the outside. As a matter of fact, the place looks more than a little intimidating with all the razor wire, the guard tower, etc. I arrived there very late at night since my flight was delayed and I was welcomed in by the pistol packing security guard. To make matters worse I had reserved an apartment with a kitchen and I was given one without one and told we could straighten it out with the owner in the morning.

The next morning I met with Carlos (the owner) and he explained to me that one of the guests was supposed to have left but was too sick to travel and that's why he had to give me the smaller apartment. The apartment complex has a community kitchen that I could use whenever I wanted so I had everything I needed. Carlos turned out to be a super guy. He went out of his way to make my stay pleasant. After a day I forgot all about the fact I was in the wrong apartment.

The inside of the apartment complex is wonderful. They have computers available for guests to use, high speed wireless Internet access in all of the rooms, an exercise room, laundry facilities, etc. It's also beautifully landscaped with various tropical plants, flowers, and trees. After spending a few days there it was easy to see why all the guests were frequent visitors. The lobby area with the rocking chairs was a great place to hang out with the other guests or just enjoy some Costa Rican coffee while reading La Nacion.

The neighborhood it's in is a typical working class Tico neighborhood. There are a number of excellent restaurants within walking distance where dinner will typically cost less than $5 for all the food you can cram into your piehole. The bus stop is a short walk up the street and busses come by every 5 minutes or so. It takes about 15 minutes to get to town by bus and it costs about 20 cents.

On my final day there I realized that we had never discussed what I was going to be charged seeing as how I didn't get the apartment that was agreed upon beforehand. I went and found Carlos and when I asked what I owed him he responded just pay me $15/night. So my 5 night stay ended up costing a grand total of $75. Not a bad deal.


Hare Krishna's

Apartamentos VistaLinda

Apartamentos VistaLinda

Across The Street

The Lobby

Courtyard

Courtyard

Guard Tower


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